History Channel Adds 'How the States Got Their Shapes' (Exclusive)

The top-rated cable network will add an educational travel series hosted by a former "Daily Show" correspondent.

The History channel is setting out to uncover the mysteries of the U.S. map, from the back stories of the jagged edges to the roots of the unusual shapes.

The network, under the leadership of Nancy Dubuc, who is profiled in the current issue of The Hollywood Reporter, has ordered How the States Got Their Shapes.

The new one-hour series will follow former Daily Show correspondent Brian Unger as he criss-crosses the country reporting on the tales behind the boundaries. Think: Why does Montana look like it took a bite out of Idaho? Or how are flying fish threatening to re-draw the lines of Illinois?

Staying true to the network’s roots, albeit in a broadly-appealing, Dubuc-like manner, States is designed to explore how the nation’s borders evolved in response to religion, politics and culture clashes. In a bid to engage potential viewers still more, the series will feature interactive elements that allow audience members to answer multiple choice challenges through text messages.

The show, from Half Yard Productions (Real Housewives of D.C., Say Yes to the Dress), will premiere May 3 at 10 p.m.

The pick-up announcement comes as the network just notched its best quarter on record, a running theme at the A&E-owned channel.

According to the Nielsen, 1.9 million viewers on average tuned in, up 36 percent from a year earlier. Among the all-important men 18 to 49 demographic, the network once dubbed the ‘Hitler Channel’ for its slate of musty WW II documentaries was up 20 percent, year over year.

States will join a schedule of top-performing shows, including American Pickers, Pawn Stars and Only in America With Larry the Cable Guy. Other spring newcomers include
American Restoration and Mounted in Alaska.