The 2010 Scripps National Spelling Bee is currently on ESPN. Here's where things stand so far.
Love the sports-for-smart-people. This and the Geography Bee (which I used to compete in, though I never made it out of school level; I'd always go out in the final two. The guy who kept beating me would go onto get a 4.0 GPA in high school and attend Duke.)
Observe how they progress from words like 'refuse' and 'amateur' and 'obstacle' in the Round One Test, to a recent speller getting 'effleurage' in Round 4.
EDIT: Now with protestors! Yes! People are protesting a spelling bee!