WASHINGTON – The 2006 Scripps National Spelling Bee begins today in Washington, D.C., featuring top spellers from across the U.S. and including competitors from Europe, Guam, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, The Bahamas, American Samoa, Canada and New Zealand.The 275 champion spellers, ranging in age from 9 to 15 years old, will be competing for the Scripps National Spelling Bee Championship, which will be determined during the closing rounds of the competition Thursday, June 1. The spellers have qualified to compete in the national competition by winning locally sponsored spelling bees in their home communities. The national competition will be held in the Independence Ballroom of the Grand Hyatt Washington. Live television coverage of the 2006 Scripps National Spelling Bee will be moving to primetime this year on the ABC Television Network. ABC will broadcast the championship rounds of the bee in high definition from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. EDT on Thursday, June 1. Good Morning America anchor Robin Roberts will host the ABC broadcast. Preliminary championship rounds of the bee will air live earlier in the day on ESPN, which has televised the final rounds of the bee in their entirety since 1994. The ESPN broadcast is scheduled for noon to 3 p.m., EDT. SportsCenter anchor Chris McKendry will host the ESPN broadcast. The Scripps National Spelling Bee is the nation’s largest and longest running educational promotion. The competition is administered on a not-for-profit basis by The E. W. Scripps Company in Cincinnati and 268 local sponsors. The majority of local spelling bee sponsors are daily and weekly newspapers. The purpose of the National Spelling Bee is to help students improve spelling, increase vocabularies, learn concepts and develop correct English usage that will help them all of their lives. The program is open to students who have not reached their 16th birthday on or before the date of the national finals and who have not advanced beyond the eighth grade by Feb. 1, 2006. The spelling bee is primarily an oral competition conducted in rounds until only one speller remains. The first round of the competition consists of a 25-word written test. Rounds One through Four will be held Wednesday, May 31. The championship rounds will be held on Thursday, June 1. The National Spelling Bee word panel has compiled a list consisting of more than 1,000 words that will be used in the national competition. All 275 competing spellers receive cash prizes that range from $25 to $20,000 for the national champion. All spellers receive a commemorative watch, the Samuel Louis Sugarman Award, which consists of a $100 EE U.S. Savings bond, Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged, on CD-ROM from Merriam-Webster and a $20 gift certificate from Franklin Electronic Publishers. Franklin will award the top 10 to 12 finishers a limited edition electronic dictionary. The national champion also receives an engraved loving cup, a $5,000 cash award from Franklin Electronic Publishers, a $5,000 cash award from LeapFrog Enterprises Inc., a $5,000 scholarship from Sigma Phi Epsilon Educational Foundation; from Merriam-Webster, a $2,500 U.S. Savings Bond and a reference library; and from Encyclopedia Britannica, reference materials valued at more than $5,000. Biographies of this year’s spellers and information about the 2006 Scripps National Spelling Bee can be found online at www.spellingbee.com. About Scripps The E. W. Scripps Company (NYSE: SSP) is a diverse and growing media enterprise with interests in national cable networks, newspaper publishing, broadcast television stations, electronic commerce, interactive media, and licensing and syndication. The company’s portfolio of media properties includes: Scripps Networks, with such brands as HGTV, Food Network, DIY Network, Fine Living, Great American Country and HGTVPro; daily and community newspapers in 18 markets and the Washington-based Scripps Media Center, home to the Scripps Howard News Service; 10 broadcast TV stations, including six ABC-affiliated stations, three NBC affiliates and one independent; leading online search and comparison shopping services, Shopzilla and uSwitch; and United Media, a leading worldwide licensing and syndication company that is the home of PEANUTS, DILBERT and approximately 150 other features and comics.