TEN spells out The Great Australian Spelling Bee


No singing, dancing, cooking or renovation in sight on TEN’s newest format to be unveiled: The Great Australian Spelling Bee, featuring kids from across the country.

The announcement ends speculation on the third quarter show TEN had teased at its Upfronts last year.

The Great Australian Spelling Bee is an exciting, engaging new series and a perfect fit with our strategy of bringing event television to Australians,” TEN program chief Beverley McGarvey said.

“Surrounded by their friends and loved ones, we will see Australia’s brightest young people put through their paces as they inspire and surprise us. And we will cheer them on.”

TEN Head of Drama, Rick Maier, worked with Shine Australia to develop the original format.

“Sometimes the best ideas are the simplest,” he said. “And the simplest ideas are the most exciting.”

Mark Fennessy, CEO, Shine Australia, said: “We are delighted to be bringing this original and exciting format to TEN. By super-sizing spelling to a hyper-stylised, entertainment family event, we’ll present the universal art of problem solving on the grandest of scales.

“Viewers will be inspired and enthralled by Australia’s most remarkable spellers among the jeopardy and drama of big event television. For these young people, everything is on the line.”

Last week a casting call went out seeking kids aged 8 – 13 who love words, definitions and grammar.

Hosts said to be under consideration include Chrissie Swan, Grant Denyer and Carrie Bickmore.

TEN previously screened Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader? produced by Roving Enterprises from 2007 to 2009.

Photo: stock image


  1. Seriously ? Where is TEN getting advice from? I can’t think of anything more boring than watching precious kids being coached to spell by stage mums and dads in a half hour tv program hosted by Denyer or Chrissy Swan? I wonder who the major sponsor is? Officeworks ?

  2. You would love to be a fly on the wall at the agency presos when Lou Barratt and her crew take this golden nugget into the market looking for Sponsorships and spots.

    Every once in a while, the industry needs a good laugh and fortunately Ten is there to serve up another turd like this one to hold up the bottom of the ratings tables.

    Is Beverley McGarvie serious when she says: “The Great Australian Spelling Bee is an exciting, engaging new series and a perfect fit with our strategy of bringing event television to Australians,”? Event television – how, why?!? A channel changer or cure for insomnia maybe.

    It can’t really get much worse for Ten when this sort of rubbish is your marquee Q3 product and your major rater is Family Feud

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