"How the States Got Their Shapes" on H2 is a reality series hosted by journalist and former Daily Show correspondent Brian Unger.

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," 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.

Season 2

Journalist and former Daily Show correspondent Brian Unger hits the road again to uncover the history hidden in our map — but this time, he is quizzing Americans about what unites us and what really divides the states — and exposing some of our country's most stubborn regional rivalries. Competitors will make some fast cash and show their state pride by proving just how well they know their United States. Unger will travel state-to-state from Pittsburg, Pa.; Miami, Fla. and Seattle, Wash. to Chicago, Ill.; St. Louis, Mo. and Nashville, Tenn.

Americans are known for standing firm on their beliefs ... but we seldom seem to reach a consensus. Our state lines shape our loyalties, from tensions between Republicans and Democrats to the culture clash between the North and South. Combining the spirit of a cross-country road trip with the fun of a quiz show, "How the States Got Their Shapes" explores how our jigsaw-like map fuels different rivalries on themes such as the line between Religion and Government, the Haves and the Have Nots, City Slickers vs. Country Bumpkins, Lawmen and Outlaws, Rednecks vs. Hillbillies, and more.

"How the States Got Their Shapes" is produced for H2 by Half Yard Productions. Executive producers for Half Yard Productions are Sean Gallagher and Abby Greensfelder. Kristen Burns and Paul Cabana are executive producers for H2.


Network: H2
Genre: Reality
Runtime: 60 mins.
Premiere Date: May 3, 2011
Seasons: 2
Production Company: Half Yard Productions

'How the States Got Their Shapes' to Be Hosted by Brian Unger — Premiering Tuesday, May 3, the new History Channel series crisscrosses the nation in search of all the history hidden in the map of the United States and finds out how every line tells a surprising story. Read more...

Got spoilers? What did you think of the last show?

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