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Thread: Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee

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    Go USA britty05's Avatar
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    Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee

    The National Spelling Bee is heading to primetime tonight. Is anyone going to watch this?

    Bee Spells Reality for ABC

    WASHINGTON Now that "American Idol" has bowed out for the season, ABC is betting that the show's formula nervous civilians performing live will turn the once-stodgy National Spelling Bee into the latest reality TV phenom.

    For the first time in its 79-year history, the Bee is going live in prime time with the final rounds on Thursday. Robin Roberts of "Good Morning America" will host the event, broadcast for the first time in high definition with 5.1-channel surround sound.

    "We're really excited about this," said Andrea Wong, ABC's executive vice president for alternative programming. Wong, who brought the British hit "Dancing With the Stars" to the U.S. audience last year, said she's been eyeing the Bee as a network television prospect for years.

    "These are amazingly determined kids who have spent hours and hours every day practicing for this one moment of the year," she said. "They're all incredibly likable kids that you're rooting for. These aren't nerds; they are intellectual athletes."

    The emotional angst of youngsters sweating in the floodlights as they try to conjure the language root or meaning context of a word to divine its correct spelling has already drawn Hollywood's attention. The 2002 Oscar-nominated documentary "Spellbound" kicked things off, followed by a Broadway musical and this year's film charmer "Akeelah and the Bee," which tracks a Los Angeles girl as she overcomes adversity to compete in the event.

    The Bee has also attracted its share of writers. Myla Goldberg's 2000 novel "Bee Season" was made into a movie last year starring Richard Gere, and Rodale Press has just released a nonfiction book by pop culture writer James Maguire called "American Bee: The National Spelling Bee and the Culture of Word Nerds."

    Maguire, author of a biography of Ed Sullivan, said he is drawn to "all the odd subcultures that make up American culture." He went to his first Bee in 2003 and was struck by the event's natural drama.

    "These are 'tween spellers and it adds an emotional component," he said. "The audience gets so involved, they cheer when the kids get it, and when they strike out, they sigh with them. It adds an extra element of vulnerability."

    For much of its life, the bee was an acquired taste, the ultimate niche talent contest. Then in 1985, Balu Natarajan, a 13-year-old son of Indian American parents, beat out all comers by spelling the word "milieu." He became an overnight sensation and many first-generation Americans came to see the Bee as a passport to acceptance in U.S. culture, encouraging their kids to compete. As a result, the list of competitors is often as much of a spelling challenge as the words.

    When ESPN began broadcasting the two-day finals in Washington, D.C., in 1994, the allure of television did the rest, cementing the bee as a cultural right of passage.

    "When ESPN picked it up, they really dressed up the image," Maguire said. "There's nothing glamorous about spelling, but there is something glamorous about being on television."

    This year ABC notched things up even further by asking the Bee's organizers to move the final few hours to 8 p.m., and rolled the dice that it could manage the production woes of handling some 10 to 15 kids juggling words, expectations and parental pressure live in prime time (although it will be tape-delayed on the West Coast). Sponsors were thrilled.

    "ABC's decision to move the Scripps [Howard] National Spelling Bee to prime time affirms for us how deeply this unique event is ingrained in the American psyche," Kenneth W. Lowe, president and CEO for the E.W. Scripps Co., said in a statement. "Now, with a wider national network television audience, more people than ever before will have an opportunity to share in this extraordinary celebration of academic excellence and experience the remarkable intensity of competitive spelling."

    For real-time television, the gambit is not without risk. The bee is an unscripted pyramid. Some 10.5 million school students participated in bee competitions in their home towns this year, but only 275 are being summoned to Washington. On Wednesday, they will begin a spelling marathon to winnow down the elite even further, leading up to the championship on Thursday night.

    The problem for television is that, like any live sports event, there is no way to predict the ending. After the spellers are winnowed down to the last 10 or 15 Thursday (with ESPN on hand beginning at noon Eastern time), bee officials will stop the daytime event and delay what ABC is calling "the title rounds" until 8 p.m. Once the lights dim and the cameras zoom, anything could happen. A lot of kids could fade early. Or two could keep battling off words such as "logorrhea" (excessive wordiness) and "smaragdine" (the color of emeralds) until long past the network's planned 10 p.m. signoff.

    "It's going to be tricky," Wong said. "We're going to have to pace it to try to predict the ending."

    The network, which owns ESPN, has stockpiled some features, as with the Olympics. There are taped packages on likely finalists, such as Samir Patel, a voracious reader who tied for third place in 2003 when he was only 9 years old and is back again this year. And the network has on hand some taped segments about the Bee itself, including a profile of the man who reads the words to the kids.

    "These things will accordion the live show," Wong said. "Like the American Music Awards, we'll have a rough idea of timing."

    As for the audience, neither ABC nor ESPN will offer predictions, but Wong is optimistic. "We want to feel creatively about this show," she said. "The ratings are not that important. We're building a franchise, and that will require momentum over time." Take that, Simon Cowell.
    http://www.latimes.com/entertainment...home-headlines
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  2. #2
    Wait, what? ArchieComic Fan's Avatar
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    I'll probably flip to it from time to time but won't watch it from beginning to end.

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    Leave No Trace ADKLove's Avatar
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    Em and I are watching: she's 7 and thinks she's SOOO smart - figure it will either take her down a notch or completely inspire her.

    I love that they are airing this. These kids are true academic athletes.

    *runs to spell check post*
    Love many, trust a few, and always paddle your own canoe

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    FORT Fogey misskitty's Avatar
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    I don't get it up here, but our local girl is Finola Hackett.

    She won the city, the provincial, and then the Canadian Nationals for the second year in a row. She finished 16th overall in the Scripps. I heard on the news she's made it into the 9th round and is continuing.

    I hope she continues to do very well this year too! She's a sweetie.
    Live simply ~ Love generously~ Care deeply~ Speak kindly

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    That's all folks! Unklescott's Avatar
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    I love these kids. This is fun to watch how happy they are.

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    FORT Fogey my3boyz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by misskitty View Post
    I don't get it up here, but our local girl is Finola Hackett.

    She won the city, the provincial, and then the Canadian Nationals for the second year in a row. She finished 16th overall in the Scripps. I heard on the news she's made it into the 9th round and is continuing.

    I hope she continues to do very well this year too! She's a sweetie.
    Very smart girl. She made it to (final 2.) Highlight if you want to know the results.

  7. #7
    What the BLEEP do we know tigergirl's Avatar
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    These kids are phenomenal...and I have to admit that I was THRILLED that the final three were all girls!!

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    Obama '08! Callie's Avatar
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    I actually ended up catching the very end of the show (to watch the Primetime special on Foster Care)... and wow, simply amazing.

    These kids are SMART!

  9. #9
    FORT Fogey misskitty's Avatar
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    Attachment 17440

    FINOLA came in SECOND!! How terrific is that!! She's already made the news. Congratulations to the winner! GIRLS ARE SO SMART

    This is only the second year Canada has participated.
    -------------------------------
    Canadian finishes second in U.S. spelling bee
    JUNE 1, 2006 11:30 PM ET

    Canada's very own spelling wiz finished second in the 79th annual Scripps National Spelling Bee Thursday evening, beating out 273 other children.

    After 19 rounds of perfectly spelled words, Finola Hackett of Tofield, Alta., misspelled the word "weltschmerz."

    After Hackett dropped out of the race, a 13-year-old New Jersey girl correctly dictated "ursprache" to claim the title of America's best speller.

    Eighth-grader Katherine Close is the first girl since 1999 to win the national spelling title.

    Hackett and two other girls had advanced to the championship round that included a list of 25 obscure words.

    Hackett had the highest standing among the Canadian competitors last year, and remained in contention until the very end after correctly spelling "formenkreis," "guilloche," and "douane."

    The championship round for the queen of all bees was broadcast live on television.

    Four out of the 14 Canadian youngsters in the competition advanced to the second day of the spelling bee.

    Jaclyn Chang, from Calgary, was eliminated after misspelling "gigerium" in the seventh round Thursday.

    Leslie Newcombe from Don Mills, Ont., spelled "dhole" incorrectly forcing her out after the sixth round.

    Saskatoon's Anqi Dong finished his day after the fifth round when he misspelled "nepenthe."

    The spelling bee began in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday with fourteen Canadians competing, the largest foreign contingent participating in the annual contest. This is only the second time that Canadians have competed at the bee.

    The 9- to 15-year-old spellers who made it to the bee qualified by winning local contests in the United States, as well as in American Samoa, the Bahamas, Europe, Guam, Jamaica, New Zealand, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

    As the contest opened Wednesday morning, 275 children were vying for the honour of taking the spelling crown, and more than $42,000 US in cash and prizes.

    To help spellers with words that many adults might find tricky, they are allowed to ask about a word's pronunciation, definition, use in a sentence and the origin of the word.

    While this competition has been around since 1925, spelling bees have gained popularity over the years.

    A documentary called "Spellbound" that followed eight teenagers on their question to win the 1999 spelling bee was nominated for an Oscar in 2003.

    More recently, the contest played a starring role in the movie "Akeelah and the Bee," starring Laurence Fishburne, Angela Bassett and newcomer Keke Palmer.

    Last year's champion, 13-year-old Anurag Kashyap from California burst into tears after nailing "appoggiatura."

    In 2004, David Scott Pilarski Tidmarsh, won top prize and bragging rights after spelling "autochthonous" correctly.

    In 2003, Sai R. Gunturi became champion after successfully tackling "pococurante." In 2002, Pratyush Buddiga took top prize after spelling "prospicience."

    The Louisville Courier-Journal started the bee in 1925. The E.W. Scripps Co., a media conglomerate, assumed sponsorship in 1941.

    http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNew...601?hub=Canada
    Last edited by misskitty; 06-20-2006 at 05:33 AM.
    Live simply ~ Love generously~ Care deeply~ Speak kindly

  10. #10
    HBK fan nilesgirl's Avatar
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    I found myself trying to spell some of the words. Out of 6 words I think I only got about 2 or 3 right. Great job for all the spellers. I personally was rooting for that boy. (The last boy to get eliminated leaving the 3 girls)
    Hurley: (holding up a Jesus statue) I don't know. I thought there might be a prowler or something.
    Mrs. Reyes: (grabbing the statue) Jesus Christ is not a weapon! - LOST "There's No Place Like Home Pt. 1

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