Actor and literacy advocate LeVar Burton will host the 2022 Scripps National Spelling Bee.
Burton will host the televised semifinals on June 1 and the finals on June 2, 2022.
The announcement about Burton follows recent news that Scripps has ended its partnership with ESPN, which aired the Bee since 1994.
Now, the 2022 Bee will be accessible to the widest audience in its nearly 100-year history with the semifinals and finals airing on national television networks ION and Bounce, both available free and over-the-air to viewers as well as on cable and streaming platforms. Full broadcast schedules and streaming plans will be announced in early 2022.
Burton has won Emmy and Grammy awards and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He will serve as grand marshal of the Jan. 1, 2022, Rose Bowl Parade, themed “Dream. Believe. Achieve.”
He has entertained generations as former host and executive producer of PBS’s “Reading Rainbow” (1983-2006); starring as Kunta Kinte in the acclaimed television miniseries “Roots” (1977); and as Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge in “Star Trek: The Next Generation television series (1987-94).
“The selection of Mr. Burton as host aligns with the mission of the Scripps National Spelling Bee,” said Dr. J. Michael Durnil, executive director of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. “To have such a prominent advocate for children’s literacy involved in this special and unique competition is a perfect match. We have the same goals: to educate tomorrow’s leaders and build reading competency in all young people.”
“Hosting the Scripps National Spelling Bee will be an honor,” Burton said. “Like a lot of folks, I look forward to the competition every year and am excited to be a part of this wonderful tradition that celebrates excellence.”
The Bee is the nation’s longest-running educational competition, having launched in 1925, and has aired on ESPN platforms since 1994. The E.W. Scripps Company (NASDAQ: SSP) is the longtime steward of the competition and owns ION and Bounce. ION is the No. 5 most-watched entertainment network in primetime, and Bounce is the No. 2 most-watched network targeted to African Americans across broadcast and cable TV.
The deadline for schools to enroll in the 2022 Spelling Bee is Jan. 31 for most regions; check www.spellingbee.com to confirm your school’s enrollment deadline. School bees are held throughout the fall and early 2022, and regional bees run Feb. 1 through March 31.
For more information about the Scripps National Spelling Bee, click here.
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