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24/05/2007 - par Mark Tungate

As eager followers of the advertising scene across the Atlantic will be aware, the countdown to the upfront buying season has begun. This is when advertisers buy blocks of TV space ahead of the next season. So the TV networks are currently falling over themselves to promote their latest shows. For European media-watchers, it's an opportunity to find out what US series might be hitting our screens over the next year (in agonisingly dubbed form, bien sûr).

Given that TV viewing is under threat from Youtube and other distractions, the networks show a surprising lack of willingness to innovate. For example, NBC is offering Lipstick Jungle, starring Brook Shields. For those of you who haven't already guessed, the show bears more than a passing resemblance to Sex in the City - not least in the fact that it's based on a book by the same author, Candace Bushnell (see candacebush nell.com). Over at ABC, there's a series called Cashmere Mafia, about four New York women. Sound familiar ? Its producer is Darren Star, creator of... Sex and the City. Meanwhile, new network The CW offers Gossip Girl, which is also about rich New York chicks... only they're in high-school. CBS is taking a more adult tack with Swingtown, a tale of wife-swapping. But at least it's set in Texas. As if this were not enough, NBC is taking a huge stab at originality by resurrecting The Bionic Woman. Whether the new Jaime Sommers drinks cosmopolitans and flirts with bankers remains to be seen.

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