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2023 Scripps National Spelling Bee seen by 9.2 million viewers, up 22% vs. 2022

June 12, 2023 By Rebecca McCarter

CINCINNATI – The Scripps National Spelling Bee’s semifinals and finals drew 9.2 million viewers this year, an increase of 22% over 2022 when it debuted on ION. The finals (live and immediate encore) on June 1 reached its largest audience since 2012 – 6.1 million viewers, an increase of 30% over 2022.

Last year, The E.W. Scripps Company (NASDAQ: SSP) moved the Bee to its own networks – available free over-the-air as well as on cable, satellite and streaming platforms – to make the competition more accessible to viewers. This year, Scripps aired the semifinals and finals on all six of its entertainment networks: ION, Bounce, Defy TV, Grit, Laff and ION Mystery. Among the viewership highlights:

  • Viewing of the finals was 60% higher than in 2022.
  • The semifinals on May 31 reached 4.9 million viewers – an increase of 58% over 2022 and the highest audience ever for the semifinals for the second year in a row.
  • Streaming added significantly to the overall audience. Bee programming was watched for nearly 5.6 million hours, up double digits from last year.

Last year’s Spelling Bee programming, including a one-hour original special, “Road to the Bee,” aired on ION, Bounce, Laff and TrueReal and was seen by 7.5 million viewers.

“This year’s fantastic growth further proves the power of over-the-air television, the promise of the Scripps Networks to connect with its diverse audiences and the special place this nearly 100-year-old competition holds in the hearts of Americans,” Scripps President and CEO Adam Symson said.

Dev Shah, a 14-year-old speller from Largo, Florida, won the 2023 Scripps National Spelling Bee in the 15th round of onstage competition. The 95th competition was held May 31-June 1 at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland.

The Bee is the nation’s longest-running educational program, having launched in 1925. The E.W. Scripps Company is the longtime steward of the Bee and owns Scripps Networks.

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Source: Nielsen. Live+SD. 9.2 M reach reflects a one-minute qualifier. Comparison to prior years reflects the reach for the Finals plus all encores that aired the same day. Persons 2+.

Media contact: Becca McCarter, 513-410-2425, [email protected]

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. By inspiring the exploration of words, the Scripps National Spelling Bee illuminates pathways to lifelong curiosity, celebrates academic achievement and enriches communities. Visit for more information about the Scripps National Spelling Bee, which is administered on a not-for-profit basis by The E.W. Scripps Company (NASDAQ: SSP).

About Scripps
The E.W. Scripps Company (NASDAQ: SSP) is a diversified media company focused on creating a better-informed world. As one of the nation’s largest local TV broadcasters, Scripps serves communities with quality, objective local journalism and operates a portfolio of 61 stations in 41 markets. The Scripps Networks reach nearly every American through the national news outlets Court TV and Scripps News and popular entertainment brands ION, Bounce, Defy TV, Grit, ION Mystery and Laff. Scripps is the nation’s largest holder of broadcast spectrum. Scripps runs an award-winning investigative reporting newsroom in Washington, D.C., and is the longtime steward of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Founded in 1878, Scripps has held for decades to the motto, “Give light and the people will find their own way.”