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Scripps Moves Spelling Bee to Ion, Bounce From ESPN

E.W. Scripps Spelling Bee ESPN
The Spelling Bee has been on ESPN networks since 1994 (Image credit: E.W. Scripps)

The E.W. Scripps Co. said it is moving the Scripps National Spelling Bee to two of its over-the-air networks — Ion and Bounce — from ESPN’s cable channels.

Scripps said the move will make the spelling competition available to its widest audience in its nearly 100-year history.

Also Read: E.W. Scripps Cancels Spelling Bee National Finals

The 2022 national competition will air live on June 2. Scripps also plans to make it available via cable and streaming. 

The Bee was launched in 1925 and has been on ESPN channels since 1994

“The Scripps National Spelling Bee is a beloved American treasure enjoyed by generations of participants and viewers annually. The time is right to bring the iconic competition back to broadcast television, the media platform accessible for free to nearly every American viewer across the country,” Scripps president and CEO Adam Symson said. “As the Bee’s viewership expands through the diverse and fast-growing audiences of Ion and Bounce, it is better positioned to connect with the next generation of spellers watching along.” 

Scripps, a major owner of local television stations, has been building a national networks group. It acquired Ion Media Networks for $2.65 billion earlier this year. Bounce was acquired by Scripps when it bought Katz Networks for $302 million in 2017. 

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting + Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.