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‘Road to the Bee’ Premieres May 26 ahead of Scripps National Spelling Bee

“Road to the Bee” – a new, exclusive, one-hour original special documenting what it is like to prepare for and compete in the iconic Scripps National Spelling Bee – will premiere at 8 p.m. ET Thursday, May 26 on ION and Bounce.

It comes just days before the 2022 Bee begins. Accomplished actor, director, educator and lifelong children’s literacy advocate LeVar Burton, host of the 2022 Scripps National Spelling Bee, narrates “Road to the Bee.”

For the first time in Bee history, the competition will air on ION and Bounce, which are part of Scripps’ portfolio of free, over-the-air national networks. The semifinals will air, live-to-tape, on ION and Bounce from 8-10 p.m. ET on Wednesday, June 1. (The semifinals are scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m.) The finals will air live on ION and Bounce from 8-10 p.m. ET on Thursday, June 2.

“Road to the Bee” goes behind the scenes with officials and 10 of this year’s regional competitors for a rare, inside look at the time, effort and, yes, practice, which goes into preparing for the nearly 100-year-old academic competition. It includes perspectives from those who support spellers, including family and members of the community.

The special also includes a look at the event’s rich history, and a visit with 2021 champion Zaila Avant-garde, the first Black American to be crowned winner of the Bee.

Zaila (zah-EE-luh) Avant-garde earned the prestigious title in round 18, when she correctly spelled “Murraya” which is defined as “a genus of tropical Asiatic and Australian trees having pinnate leaves and flowers with imbricated petals.”

A full list of this year’s participants is available on the Scripps National Spelling Bee website. Two students from Georgia will participate, Ananya Augustine, age 14, Eagle’s Landing Middle School and Nimal Murugan, age 12, South Forsyth Middle School.

“Road to the Bee” will have encore airings on Newsy on May 29, June 3 and June 5. More details on how to view live or on-demand are available at

Photo Credit: Scripps National Spelling Bee

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