The Spelling Bee is Back

Spelling geeks of the world, re-unite: The finals of the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee appears on network television tonight for the 2nd consecutive year. The 2006 edition must have been enough of a ratings success to bring back an event once confined to the popular shadows.

Returning for his fifth and final year of bee eligibility, 13-year-old Samir Patel of Fort Worth, Texas, occupies most of the spotlight with the expectations that this might finally be his year. By the same token, there are several top-notch spellers from the United States and Canada with a legitimate chance to win the 80th annual Scripps Howard event. For its part, the Rocky Mountain News focuses our attention on 14-year-old Maithreyi Gopalakrishnan, the Superior girl who represents Colorado’s hopes going into today.

Be sure to check out the official Bee Blog from a journalist stationed to cover today’s semifinal action and tonight’s final round. He has handicapped some of his favorites and has his eye on the latest happenings on the stage and behind the scenes. (Who would have ever imagined a day of live-blogging spelling bees? Great stuff.)

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