Take a Letter


TV down through the ages has always had a nodding acquaintance with the spelling biz.

For example, I can spell Rolaids thanks to TV. And I know that Serutan is "natures" spelled backwards.

And Wheel of Fortune has created a whole new category of "spellguessers" who have been taught the value of language, allbeit in dollar signs.

But in the past month, there has been a veritable explosion in TV takes on the masters of the art of stringing letters together in the right order.

ABC took the National Spelling Bee into prime time earlier this month, taking a hand-off from co-owned ESPN, which had covered all those tearful early rounds.

Then, Wednesday, Lionsgate said it had signed the star of Akeelah and the Bee, the theatrical story of one girl's quest for the national trophy.

All this is leading up to a kicker of course, which is that if there is a new cottage industry in such fare, I know what I would call my production company given my deficits: Errant Spelling Productions (ba-da-bum followed by cymbal sound).

By John Eggerton