For practically 100 years, the Scripps Nationwide Spelling Bee has showcased the largest phrases from the youngest lexicologists. The inaugural champion, 11-year-old Frank Neuhauser of Louisville, appropriately spelled “gladiolus” to say a prize of $500 on the Smithsonian Museum of Pure Historical past.
The phrases have solely gotten more durable, the strain higher and the nationwide highlight bigger.
Of 231 rivals, a few dozen finalists have outmaneuvered their method to the finals, which begin at 8 p.m. Eastern time on Thursday on the Ion and Bounce networks and will run till about 10 p.m. The finals cap practically every week of competitors at the National Harbor, a resort and waterfront improvement in Maryland.
Many Individuals grew conversant in the bee from its nationwide broadcast on ESPN, the place it expanded in reputation, viewership and pop culture over the previous few many years. However that modified final 12 months when the bee moved to Ion, a Scripps subsidiary, within the hopes of finding viewers beyond paid TV subscribers.
Based on the bee, that guess labored: Viewership of the finals in 2022 was up 147 p.c 12 months over 12 months and was seen by 7.5 million viewers — the most important tv viewers since 2015.
The New York Instances, which has coated spelling bees for almost 150 years, will proceed that custom Thursday evening, reporting dwell on the spellers’ tales and the phrases they face. Definitions will come from the competition’s dictionary accomplice, Merriam-Webster. The champion will take dwelling greater than $50,000 in money and a number of reference works like a duplicate of the 1768 Encyclopaedia Britannica.