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Scripps Spelling Bee 2016: Time, TV schedule and live stream

The contest has crowned two winners in each of the last two years.

Jack Gruber-USA TODAY Sports

The 89th Annual Scripps National Spelling Bee will wrap up Thursday and a new champion will be crowned. The contest got underway Wednesday with the preliminary round, where 45 contestants out of 284 will advance.

ESPN2 will air the semifinal at 10 a.m. ET, with the championship round set to be broadcast on ESPN at 8 p.m. Last year, Gokul Venkatachalam, 14, of Chesterfield, Missouri; and Vanya Shivashankar, 13, of Olathe, Kansas split the title. It was the second consecutive year two winners were crowned.

After Wednesday's round, 171 out of 284 entrants were eligible to move on, but 126 of them will be eliminated after officials score written tests from Tuesday. Spellers in this year's bee are between six and 14 years old and have successfully spelt words such as "sciuromorph" (referring to a group of rodents, of course).

In addition to airing on ESPN, ESPN3 on WatchESPN will offer an interactive component. It will feature a second-screen, multiple-choice Play-Along version, that gives viewers a one-in-four chance of selecting a word's right spelling.

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