[04/30/12 - 08:18 AM]
"The Grammar of Happiness" Premieres May 12 on Smithsonian Channel
The one-hour special follows Daniel Everett, a red-bearded American who "decamped with his family to the Amazon rainforest to save souls."

[via press release from Smithsonian Channel]



New York, NY - April 30, 2012 - As a young, ambitious missionary three decades ago, Daniel Everett, a red-bearded American, decamped with his family to the Amazon rainforest to save souls. His assignment: convert the Pirahã to Christianity; an especially challenging task as he didn't speak their language and their puzzling speech seemed unrelated to any other on Earth. The Pirahã have no words for colors, no numbers, and no past or future tenses. Yet they would change Everett's life far more than he did theirs - and what he learned from them could forever transform our understanding of human language.

THE GRAMMAR OF HAPPINESS, a one-hour special premiering Sunday, May 12 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Smithsonian Channel, traces the epic story of Everett's journey and the profound effect it had on him personally and professionally. He lost his faith and his family, but gained an insight that overturns decades of conventional wisdom. It has also pushed him into conflict with perhaps the world's most esteemed academic, Noam Chomsky.

In the world of linguistics, Everett's argument is akin to saying that Einstein got it wrong on relativity. He makes the case in his new book, "Language: A Cultural Tool," which The New York Times called "full of intellectually omnivorous insights" and "that rare thing: a warm linguistics book."

Convinced by the Pirahã's steadfast beliefs that life should be lived in the present, that the past is behind us and thus irrelevant and that spiritual claims must be proven to be correct, Everett threw off the religious cloth to become a crusading and controversial academic. He re-invented himself as a linguist, grabbing headlines by challenging Chomsky's theory of universal grammar - the idea that there's a genetic foundation for all human language. In THE GRAMMAR OF HAPPINESS scientists from MIT design a computer analysis program to test Everett's theory in hopes of proving once and for all who is right: the legend or the maverick.

Everett's most controversial claim is that the Pirahã language lacks "recursion" - the ability to build an infinite number of sentences within sentences, regarded by Chomsky-ists as perhaps the most fundamental characteristic of human language. It is our ability to use recursion, or so the orthodoxy goes, that sets human language aside from animal communication.

Today, Dr. Everett is the dean of Arts and Sciences at Bentley University in Massachusetts. Meanwhile, oblivious to the academic arguments raging around their language, the Pirahã continue to live in the moment, deep in the Brazilian Amazon, with few concessions to modern life. They call themselves "the Straight Ones," while outsiders are considered to have "Crooked Heads."

As Everett's longtime teacher, Kohai, puts it in the THE GRAMMAR OF HAPPINESS: "Dan came here. He wanted to learn Pirahã. He wanted to have a 'straight head." Or as another put it in the film: "We love Dan. Dan speaks our language."


Smithsonian Channel is owned by Smithsonian Networks, a joint venture between Showtime Networks Inc. and the Smithsonian Institution. Its programs are largely inspired by the assets of the Smithsonian Institution, the world's largest museum complex. Smithsonian Channel features award-winning original documentaries, series, and groundbreaking programs highlighting America's historical, cultural and scientific heritage. Smithsonian Channel brings the American experience home in high definition and Dolby Digital 5.1 and is available to customers of DirecTV, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Charter Communications, Cablevision, Verizon, AT&T, and more. Learn more at www.smithsonianchannel.com.

  [april 2012]  

(series past and present)
(series in development)
(tv movies and mini-series)

[10/07/15 - 01:26 PM]
"Please Like Me" Available on Hulu Starting October 11
The first two seasons will be available to stream, giving subscribers the chance to catch up on the hilariously dark world of Josh Thomas in advance of Pivot's October 16 season three launch of the award-winning comedy.

[10/07/15 - 01:12 PM]
World Champion Christen Press Joins FOX Sports' @TheBuzzer
Stories are posted several times a day on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube and are featured throughout FS1 programming.

[10/07/15 - 11:24 AM]
TV One and NCTC Announce Long-Term Distribution Agreement
"TV One is delighted to begin a multi-year agreement with NCTC," said Michelle L. Rice.

[10/07/15 - 10:56 AM]
With Live + 3-Day Viewing, CBS Passes ABC as Friday's #1 Network in Adults 18-49 and Adults 25-54
CBS further spins the numbers for Friday, October 2.

[10/07/15 - 10:47 AM]
Culinary Chaos! Esquire Network Sets Premiere Date for "Knife Fight" for Tuesday, November 10 at 9/8c
Hosted by Chef Ilan Hall, each episode of the hit franchise features two celebrated chefs battling it out head-to-head, making at least two dishes in a single hour from a combination of secret ingredients.

[10/07/15 - 10:00 AM]
FOX Orders Seventh and Eighth Seasons of Emmy Award-Winning "Bob's Burgers"
"Six seasons in, the Belchers have become one of America's most beloved TV families, and we are so happy to keep them in the fold for another two seasons," said David Madden.

[10/07/15 - 09:48 AM]
Hallmark Channel's #1-Rated "Countdown to Christmas" Programming Event Starts Saturday, October 31
In 2014, "Countdown to Christmas" brought 74 million viewers to the network in November and December, making Hallmark Channel #1 among households and key demos.

[10/07/15 - 09:17 AM]
"Limitless" Sweeps Its Time Period in Viewers and Key Demos
CBS spins the numbers for Tuesday, October 6.

[10/07/15 - 09:03 AM]
One-of-a-Kind Wednesday: Thomas Rhett and Fall Out Boy to Hit Stage Together During "The 49th Annual CMA Awards"
CMA previously announced the collaboration of Eric Church with iconic Country rocker Hank Williams, Jr. as well as performances by critically-acclaimed CMA Awards hosts Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood.

[10/07/15 - 08:42 AM]
NBC Ties for the Nightlong Win in 18-49, Marking Its 12th Straight Tuesday at #1 or Tied for #1
NBC spins the numbers for Tuesday, October 6.

[10/07/15 - 08:40 AM]
Tuesday's Broadcast Ratings: CBS Tops Viewers, Shares Demo Crown with NBC
"NCIS" and "NCIS: New Orleans" are two of only three series even or above from last week among adults 18-49.

[10/07/15 - 08:39 AM]
Video: Crackle Releases New Trailer from First Original Scripted Drama, "The Art of More"
The series, premiering November 19, explores the underbelly and surprisingly cutthroat world of premium auction houses filled with hustlers, smugglers, power mongers and collectors of the beautiful and the bizarre.

[10/07/15 - 08:30 AM]
National Geographic Channel's Emmy(R)-Nominated "StarTalk" Hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson Returns for Second Season Beginning Sunday, Oct. 25, at 11/10c
President Bill Clinton will be the first guest of the new season, and additional guests include Susan Sarandon, Seth MacFarlane, David Byrne, Larry Wilmore, Bas Lansdorp, Penn and Teller, David Crosby, Brian Cox and Gina McCarthy.

[10/07/15 - 08:26 AM]
"Fresh Off the Boat" Grows Week to Week and Dominates Fox's "The Grinder"
ABC spins the numbers for Tuesday, October 6.

[10/07/15 - 08:25 AM]
ESPN/ABC College Football Week 5: ABC Televises Most-Viewed Prime-Time and Afternoon Games of the Week
ESPN spins the numbers for Saturday, October 3.