There's a lot of history hidden in the map of The United States, and every line tells a surprising story. Brian Unger hits the road to find out...
HOW THE STATES GOT THEIR SHAPES
New Series Premieres Tuesday, May 3 at 10 p.m. on HISTORY(R)
New York, March 30, 2011 - Why does Montana look like it took a bite out of Idaho? Why is Georgia plotting to re-draw its border with Tennessee? Why does Florida have a panhandle? Why isn't Chicago in Wisconsin? The map of the United States is a jigsaw puzzle of crooked lines, right angles and odd shapes. Some pieces are outsized; others are minuscule. The reason for our jagged geography? American history.
On HOW THE STATES GOT THEIR SHAPES, a new one-hour series premiering Tuesday, May 3 at 10 p.m. on HISTORY, journalist and former Daily Show correspondent Brian Unger criss-crosses the nation in search of the stories behind our boundaries - and discovers not only how the states got their shapes, but how the states have shaped us.
When the founding fathers drew the first map of America, they confronted many of the same challenges that unite and divide us today. HOW THE STATES GOT THEIR SHAPES explores how our borders evolved - and continue to change - in response to religion, transportation, communication, politics, culture clashes and even Mother Nature.
This is no textbook-style documentary series. Local experts and everyday folks lead Unger to insights about some of America's most baffling questions. How are flying fish threatening to re-draw the shape of Illinois? What does the use of cell phones by Pennsylvania's Amish have to do with the shape of their state? How is the phrase "sold down the river" linked to the shape of what might be our 51st state? Why did the invention of air conditioning change how America picks its Presidents? Unger uncovers the answers, hidden in our map.
HOW THE STATES GOT THEIR SHAPES combines the spirit of a cross-country road trip with lively graphics and the fun of an interactive game show. Viewers can answer multiple-choice challenges by text and receive live reports about which state responds with the most correct answers.
About the host
Broadcast journalist, actor and comedian Brian Unger started as an intern at Late Night with David Letterman, later becoming a producer at CBS News and a commentator at NPR. He is best known as one of the first correspondents and producers on The Daily Show for Comedy Central. His host and guest-hosting stints include E!'s Talk Soup, MSNBC's Countdown, Fox's World's Craziest Videos and NPR's Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me. The Unger Report ran on NPR's Day to Day for six years, and his occasional commentary can be heard on All Things Considered. As a comedian, he has corresponded for The Tonight Show and as an actor appears as a recurring character in F/X's It's Always Sunny in Philadephia.
HOW THE STATES GOT THEIR SHAPES is produced for HISTORY by Half Yard Productions. Executive Producers for Half Yard Productions are Sean Gallagher, Abby Greensfelder and Ann Carroll. David McKillop and Paul Cabana are Executive Producers for HISTORY.
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