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ESPN and ESPN3 to Present 2014 Scripps National Spelling Bee Finals

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ESPN and ESPN3 to Present 2014 Scripps National Spelling Bee Finals

ESPN's 21st straight year of televising the Scripps National Spelling Bee final will feature more than 14 combined hours of live competition across ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN3, beginning Wednesday, May 28, at 8 a.m. ET, and concluding on Thursday, May 29, at 10 p.m.

ESPN3, the live multiscreen sports network available in 92 million homes, will exclusively carry all preliminary rounds live on Wednesday. Live television coverage will begin Thursday, May 29, at 10 a.m. with the semifinals on ESPN2 and WatchESPN. The competition will conclude on ESPN and WatchESPN at 8 p.m. with the Championship Finals.

Throughout the competition, ESPN3 and WatchESPN will feature an enhanced "Play Along" version, a newly integrated informational experience featuring the live coverage from the Bee alongside a display of the official spelling clues from Scripps, speller bio blasts, previous words spelled, live tweets and other information. Viewers can spell along with the finalists to test their own skills and then see how they did when the word is revealed.

The schedule:

Date Time (ET) Round Networks

Wed, May 28 8-11:45 a.m. Preliminary Round & Play-Along version ESPN3 1:15-5:15 p.m. Preliminary Round & Play-Along Version ESPN3

Thu, May 30 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Semifinals Rounds ESPN2 / WatchESPN 8-10 p.m. Championship Finals ESPN / WatchESPN

Commentators: SportsCenter's Chris McKendry Returns; ESPN Kaylee Hartung Debuts

After a four-year hiatus from the Bee telecast, SportsCenter anchor Chris McKendry returns to host the Scripps National Spelling Bee Final. McKendry will be returning to Washington, DC, where her sportscasting career bloomed while working for WJLA-TV, the ABC affiliate in the market.

Paul Loeffler, a Bee finalist who represented the Merced (Calif.) Sun-Star in the 1990 Scripps National Spelling Bee and finished among the top 13 spellers, makes his ninth appearance as analyst.

ESPN college sports reporter Kaylee Hartung will make her debut as the Scripps National Spelling Bee reporter. Hartung, like McKendry also worked in the nation's capital in the CBS News Washington Bureau prior to her transition to sports journalism. She served as reporter for ESPN's coverage of the 2013 College World Series, as well as College Football and college basketball in the 2012-13 seasons. Hartung is also host of Longhorn Network's flagship program "Longhorn Extra."

ESPN Spelling Bee TV highlights:

· The production open features three of the more experienced spellers - Jae Canetti (Reston, Va.), Hannah Citsay (Lancaster, Pa.) and Vanya Shivashankar (Olathe, Kansas) - and their little friend Buzz, an animated bee;

· Video of select champion spellers lip-synching to the American Authors hit song "Best Day of My Life";

· Best of the Bee - Highlights from the most memorable moments from ESPN's two decades of National Spelling Bee Finals; and

· Introductory profiles of select champion spellers, highlighting their hometowns, schools and hobbies; and

· Two in-depth profiles of Lucas Urbanski from Crystal Lake, Illinois, (sponsored by Northwest Herald), who earned his fourth trip to the Scripps National Spelling Bee by beating out his twin sister, Claire, after the siblings competed against one another unopposed for final 32 rounds during their qualifying regional Bee; and Vanya Shivashankar from Olathe, Kansas, (sponsored by The Olathe News), who finished in fifth place last year and is a sibling to the 2009 Scripps National Spelling Bee winner Kavya Shivashankar.

ESPN and Scripps National Spelling Bee Reach Two-Year Agreement

ESPN, Inc. and the Scripps National Spelling Bee have reached a two-year agreement for the exclusive rights to carry the National Spelling Bee Finals in 2014 and 2015 across its linear television and digital platforms. The agreement continues ESPN's relationship with the National Spelling Bee which dates back to 1994, the first time ESPN televised the final of the educational competition program held annually in the nation's capital, Washington, DC.

ABOUT THE Scripps National Spelling Bee FINALS

The Scripps National Spelling Bee is the nation's largest and longest-running educational program. The purpose of the Scripps National Spelling Bee is to help students improve spelling, increase their vocabularies, learn concepts and develop correct English usage that will help them all of their lives. Visit www.spellingbee.com for more information about the Scripps National Spelling Bee, which is administered on a not-for-profit basis by The E.W. Scripps Company.

The 2014 Scripps National Spelling Bee will feature 281 champion spellers, ranging in age from eight to 14. Spellers qualify for the national competition by winning locally sponsored spelling contests in their respective communities. The champion spellers who travel to Washington, D.C., represent all 50 U.S. states, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Department of Defense Schools in Europe; also, the Bahamas, Canada, China, Ghana, Jamaica, Japan and South Korea.

For more information and real-time results for all segments of competition are provided at the Bee's official website, http://www.spellingbee.com/


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