Paul Loeffler Returns as Analyst; Jen Lada to Serve as Reporter/Interviewer
Kevin Negandhi, a co-anchor on the 6 p.m. ET SportsCenter, will host the Scripps National Spelling Bee when ESPN2 airs the semifinals and finals live in prime time this summer. Negandhi previously hosted the event in 2016 and ‘17. Paul Loeffler, a finalist in 1990 and the voice of Fresno State athletics, will return as expert analyst for a 15th year. In addition, Jen Lada, a reporter and host on a variety of ESPN programs including College GameDay Built by the Home Depot and College Football Live since 2015, will serve as an interviewer and reporter.
“I’m thrilled to be returning as host of the Scripps National Spelling Bee,” Negandhi said. “Due to my schedule in 2018 and 2019, I missed out on the fun, but it’s great to be back to share the stories about the competitors and what drives them at a young age to be the best in the world. I’m looking forward to teaming up again with the best in the business in Paul Loeffler, Jen Lada, and producers Bryan Jaroch and Steve Ackels and the rest of our dedicated crew who love the Bee and what it stands for.”
This is the 27th consecutive Scripps National Spelling Bee ESPN has televised (there was no Spelling Bee in 2020). The early rounds will be held virtually while the finals will be held Thursday, July 8 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Fla. The 93rd Annual Scripps National Spelling Bee will feature spellers ranging in age from 9 to 15.
The 10 to 12 finalists who will travel to Orlando for the finals will be determined by a series of virtual spelling rounds that will be held in the lead-up to the July 8 finals: the preliminaries and quarterfinals on ESPN3 on June 12 and 15, followed by the semifinals on ESPN2 on Sunday, June 27. Coverage will total more than 20 hours.
The multiple choice Play Along channel returns on ESPNU for its seventh year for the semifinals and finals, offering fans a one-in-four chance to pick the correct spelling of the given word, allowing fans to compete along with the spellers. The Play Along version also features informational boxes highlighting the word’s etymology, definition, clear pronunciation and part of speech, as well as live tweets, the speller’s bio and more. Back for a third year at www.spellingbee.com/playalong is an online interactive Play Along, a fun way for viewers to test their spelling prowess on their computer, tablet or phone.
The official Scripps National Spelling Bee live schedule is as follows:
Preliminaries: Saturday, June 12, 10 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. ET on ESPN3
Quarterfinals: Tuesday, June 15, noon-6 p.m. on ESPN3
Semifinals: Sunday, June 27, 7-11 p.m. on ESPN2 (Play Along version on ESPNU)
Finals: Thursday, July 8, 8-10 p.m. on ESPN2 (Play Along version on ESPNU)
About the Scripps National Spelling Bee
The Scripps National Spelling Bee is the nation’s largest and longest-running educational program, having launched in 1925. The purpose of the Scripps National Spelling Bee is to help students improve their spelling, increase their vocabularies, learn concepts and develop correct English usage that will help them all their lives. Visit 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.