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Follow The Leader: Live-Action TV
  • American Beauty is said to have inspired the idea for Desperate Housewives.
  • Sesame Street is such a strong leader that it inspires rivals and hurts its own viewership.
  • CSI: Crime Scene Investigation precipitated a host of forensic science shows involving (to quote the show) "beautiful people doing high-tech crime work", even to the point that shows not inherently about forensics now spend more time on the subject (e.g. the medical examiner on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit).
  • Survivor opened the floodgates of competitive Reality TV in the early Noughties.
  • Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? and Pop Idol inspired scads of prime-time million-dollar quiz shows and talent contests, respectively:
  • The heavily character-driven, strangers-in-a-strange-land suspense formula of LOST inspired plenty of other shows, such as Invasion, Jericho, Heroes, Surface, and Threshold. Many of which were cancelled before they barely even began to delve in their Myth Arc. Coincidentally, there is a Lost episode titled "Follow the Leader."
    • After Lost's finale, a slew of new shows have started claiming to be "the next Lost" in order to round up the Lost fans looking for something new to watch. FlashForward (2009), V-2009, and The Event have both tried rather unsuccessfully to take Lost's place and new programs Stargate Universe, Riverworld, and Terra Nova are making the attempt as well.
    • The concept was sent up in a MADtv skit. "You'll be asking yourself questions like, 'Who's the girl with the glasses, and why does she have scales on her leg?'"
    • Lost was blatantly copied (in the vein of an Asylum film) by 2010's "Dark Island". A science team (totally not the freighties) is sent to deal with zombies and a SMOKE MONSTER on a mysterious island.
    • JJ Abrams had already created a fair amount of the concept with his earlier Alias.
  • Tales of the Gold Monkey, a modern take on 1930s Two-Fisted Tales, was being pitched by Donald P. Bellisario throughout the late 70s, but it wasn't until the success of Raiders of the Lost Ark that the concept was picked up. Subsequently, Gold Monkey received it's own imitator in the form of Bring 'Em Back Alive, which was hurriedly green-lit to compete with Bellisario's creation for the period pulp audience cash cow. Sadly, neither made it more than a single season.
  • Friends resulted in a continuing string of ensemble Sitcom/Soap Operas, set in the city and populated by (supposedly) 20-somethings.
    • One might argue Friends was one of the ensemble Sitcoms inspired by Seinfeld. As George says in one scene set in Monk's coffee shop, "Every sitcom today just has four morons sitting around telling each other how bad their day was." Another would be Mad About You which co-creator Paul Reiser pitched to NBC as "Seinfeld, but Married".
    • Among the Friends-inspired: Partners, a rather similar show about the lives, loves, and careers of 20somethings; Coupling (the British Friends); and later possibly How I Met Your Mother.
    • In her book, Bossypants, Tina Fey asserts that Friends is also directly to blame for the long string of bland urban comedies exclusively starring attractive, heterosexual white people.
  • Power Rangers inspired several other adaptations of toku series, such as Denkou Choujin Gridman as Superhuman Samurai Syber-Squad, random Metal Heroes series as VR Troopers, Kamen Rider Black RX as Masked Rider, and Juukou B-Fighter as Big Bad Beetleborgs.
  • Thanks to the success of Even Stevens and Lizzie McGuire, and the eventual stardom of both shows' leads, Disney Channel is saturated with wacky, stock sound effect-laden children's sitcoms and shows with preppy High School settings.
    • Disney is actually quite the repeat offender. Apparently it comes written into all of their female tweenage stars' contracts that they will get to release a high-profit CD of pop music within two years of the show's inception, complete with overpriced tie-in merchandise. For examples, see Hilary Duff, Hannah Montana, and The Cheetah Girls.
      • Before that was Annette Funicello and Hayley Mills, in The Sixties. "Tall Paul" or "We Belong Together", anyone?! Uncle Walt himself began the whole shpiel, to capitalize on the success of Ricky Nelson.
    • This also goes for a little movie you may have heard of called Camp Rock, which is essentially High School Musical...at camp!
    • Almost every actress to come from Disney will be the Hilary Duff or Miley Cyrus model while looking like a previous star to boot! Nicole Anderson is a clone of Demi Lovato, who along with Selena Gomez, is a Vanessa Hudgens lookalike. Tiffany Thornton, Chelsea Staub, and Bridgit Mendler are ringers for Ashley Tisdale (who is a Hilary Duff lookalike), and so forth. The Ultimate clone is Debby Ryan, who is Miley Cyrus with Selena Gomez's facial features. The Onion parodies this in this video.
    • Disney also has developed a tendency to go with whatever is popular on Nickelodeon and release their own version. Even when what they make is not a blatant, obvious copy, shades of it are still there. Ant Farm has an entirely different premise from True Jackson VP, but the main characters are both black, speak the same way, and have almost identical mannerisms.
    • They also tend to capitalize (even if they are a bit late to the party) on whatever book/movie series is currently popular. Wizards of Waverly Place (takes its leads from Harry Potter) and My Babysitter's a Vampire (despite being a Disney import, takes its leads from Twilight) are perfect examples of this.
  • Despite being cancelled years ago, Jackass still has copies around, including Dirty Sanchez, Crazy Monkey, Rad Girls, and the Finnish series Extreme Duudsonit (which actually came before Jackass).
    • Even the stars of Jackass have started to clone their own show, with Steve-O and Pontius' "Jackass, but with animals" show Wildboyz and Bam Margera's "Jackass, but a reality show" Viva La Bam.
    • Some of the Jackass guys helped produce an English language version of Extreme Duudsonit - which they list as the primary influence for Jackass - for an American audience. The resulting show - called The Dudesons - was cancelled by Spike TV after only a couple of episodes, mostly because people didn't watch it because they thought it was a spineless Finnish Jackass clone.
      • Jackass itself was derived in part from the character off Super Dave Osborne, a parody of 1970s stuntmen like Evel Kneivel, played by comedian Bob Einstein. Einstein himself detests Jackass, pointing out in this interview that Jackass is tragically easy to imitate, while the stunts he pulled were a lot harder for viewers to copy.
  • Comedy Central's success with Tosh.0 inspired MTV to create Ridiculousness, which is more or less the same show. Daniel Tosh has even leveled a few Take Thats at Ridiculousness over allegedly ripping off his series.
  • The X-Files inspired a number of series featuring alien invasions and supernatural hoohah, such as Dark Skies.
    • The success of The X-Files mythology perhaps also inspired series, such as 24 and LOST, that used serialized storylines, which in turn led to more serialized thriller shows such as Prison Break, Kidnapped, Vanished, Reunion, and Heroes, along with a few that also borrowed the alien invasion premise as well: Invasion, Surface, and Threshold. Most of these series failed due to people being unable (or unwilling) to keep up with so many different ongoing stories — and also due to generally being not very good.
    • There were tons of shows in Japan of this type long before X-Files. In 1964, we have Ultra Q, greatly involving Kaiju. Then, in 1968, two series: Operation Mystery (probably the most like X-Files out of the three) and Mighty Jack (the movie was lampooned in MST3K). All 3three are made by the same company.
  • While the degree to which Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was inspired by/ripped off Babylon 5 is controversial (to say the least), there is less doubt that the former's "Dominion War" arc was inspired by the latter's intricate Myth Arc (although only the most rabid partisans of Babylon 5 would claim that Deep Space Nine ripped it off outright). The B5 myth arc was in turn inspired by story arcs used in foreign television series, and combining it with a long-time comic-book fan's love of continuity to take the concept Up to Eleven.
  • The success of the pithy, sarcastic Judge Judy spawned a whole slew of pithy, sarcastic judge shows: Judge Mathis, Judge Joe Brown, Playboy Channel's Judge Julie etc. Even the venerable The People's Court replaced Judge Wapner with sarcastic, saucy Latina Judge Marilyn Milian (after brief stints by former New York Mayor Ed Koch and Judge Judy's husband). To be fair, Jerry Sheindlin was a judge in his own right.
    • The People's Court revival was originally planned as a vehicle for Lance Ito, who wisely declined.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer was followed by a slew of modern-day Monster of the Week fantasy series (Charmed, Supernatural, Reaper, and a number of others) as well as helping to spark a resurgence of action series with female leads, though arguably the somewhat earlier Xena: Warrior Princess was more of a trendsetter in that field.
  • The day Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. premired on ABC, Fox announced plans for a Police Procedural starring Commissioner Gordon from the Batman franchise.
  • Merlin is quite an astonishingly direct emulation of the premise and format of Smallville, to the point where most of the characters are even expys of the parent show's cast. Not that that's to say it's a bad show, just that it's clearly following the leader.
  • Sliders became rather sad in its third season, as it started following any leader that presented itself, with episodes that were little more than cheap ripoffs of the movies Twister, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Tremors, Jurassic Park, and The Island of Doctor Moreau.
  • After the publication of The World Without Us, we've had not one, but two TV adaptations, released within three months of each other: Life After People and Aftermath: Population Zero.
  • Probably the most incredible chain of such events: The Sopranos was Goodfellas: The Series. Deadwood was "The Sopranos in the Old West", Rome was "Deadwood in Ancient Rome", and The Tudors was "Rome in Tudor England". Surprisingly, the quality of all of these shows vary only from good to excellent.
  • There were so many similarities to Cold Squad when Cold Case debuted that the makers of the former took the latter to court.
  • MythBusters inspired a number of popular science shows and launched the Experiment Show genre. Fans complain that many of its descendants, like Brainiac: Science Abuse, simply don't match it in terms of quality. Or explosions. Or, for that matter, quality of explosions.
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus inspired many an inferior imitator (although to be fair the original set an extremely high standard.) Some were pretty good: The Kids in the Hall was an excellent comedy.
  • Anytime a particular weapon or design in Robot Wars became really successful it would be heavily copied in later seasons. Some examples;
    • TRACIE from season 1 was designed to run both ways up. The feature caught on and was used by a lot of robots in later wars including Tornado and SMIDSY.
    • Flippers, which briefly became something of a Game Breaker until people worked out how to deal with them. First used by Recyclopse in season 1, but made really popular by 1: Cassius (Recyclopse's successor) which used its flipper to right itself when turned over (this later became known as the self-righting mechanism, or SRIMECH) and 2: Chaos 2, winner of the 3rd and 4th season which had a very powerful flipper (and also was the first to flip another robot over the fence).
      • The SRIMECH itself; while originated as an Improbable Use of a Weapon (many robots used flippers, or other weapons), some later robots had separate self-righters that did not double as weapons.
    • Crushers, first introduced by Razer in the second wars though these didn't start to catch on until the 5th season when the weight limit was increased.
    • Spinning discs, first used by Hypno-Disc in the 3rd wars and produced heavy amounts of damage, however imitators rarely managed to succeed at this.
  • The revival of Doctor Who has led to attempts at bringing back several other shows, including Survivors and Rentaghost, as well as to the recreation of the "Saturday evening drama" slot, evidenced by Primeval.
    • And in America, it hasn't brought back anything, it's simply added to the long-running "Friday night Skiffy" slot which has been going for at least 15 years...around the time the Saturday evening drama seemed to go away for a bit in England.
    • It also led to a string of TV shows in which classic British heroes were reinvented (Robin Hood, Merlin, Sherlock, etc). Like Doctor Who, some of these shows have been well-received. Others, not so much.
  • The success of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys led to a raft of other fantasy-adventure shows, including Roar and The New Adventures Of Robin Hood.
  • Degrassi The Next Generation was such a runaway hit in its US broadcast on the cable network Noggin that the channel's teen programming block, The-N, was spun off into its own channel. The-N has spent its entire existence making (or getting the rights to) shows that repeat the formula: a Soap Opera Dysfunction Junction of teenage (or slightly older) Star-Crossed Lovers whose love is threatened by either No Going Steady or a Love Triangle, In a World where Adults Are Useless and a Family-Unfriendly Aesop is around every corner, and everything changes constantly. The-N even marketed them this way, with Degrassi actors guest-starring in them and Cross Over commercials with characters from multiple shows. None of them gained the mega-popularity of Degrassi. They ranged from South of Nowhere, (Degrassi meets Beverly Hills 90210...in America!), which managed a cult following, to Whistler (Degrassi meets watered-down Twin Peaks), which was poorly promoted and barely noticed outside of Canada, to Beyond The Break (Degrassi meets Baywatch, complete with a former Baywatch actor), which was exactly as cheesy and ridiculous as expected.
    • Part of the reason for the clones not getting better than cult status may be that the Degrassi writers were beginning to get weary with their creation, and doubly weary with imitations of it. The Best Years, a clone created by the head of the Degrassi writing staff, was full of Take That against Degrassi, and the Cross Over commercials quickly changed from grimly earnest to Adam Westing.
  • Even Cartoon Network got in on the action, with The Othersiders (based on Ghost Hunters), Dude, What Would Happen? (based on MythBusters), Survive This (from the creator of and based on Survivorman), and Brainrush (based on Cash Cab). Curiously, all of these shows are live-action.
    • And they're all Discovery shows. We've reached a network level of Follow The Leader!
  • The History Channel has a tendency to air programs similar to whatever blockbuster movie is sweeping the world. Indiana Jones is big this year? Here's specials about real-life treasure hunters and lost civilizations. The Da Vinci Code is popular? Have some documentaries about religious conspiracies and apocrypha. A disaster movie? We've got stuff that examines if the premise is plausible, as well as showcasing a few other possible apocalypses they might use for the next movie. Hitler rarely gets any airtime nowadays, although some might prefer at least some variety in the station again.
  • Britannia High is just High School Musical except, as the name suggests, set in Britain. It FARED rather badly - so badly in fact that even among its target demographic, it lost in the ratings war to Antiques Roadshow.
  • USA released Psych, a series about a hyperobservant amateur who solves crimes by pretending to have psychic powers. Shortly after it became a hit, CBS released The Mentalist, a series about a hyperobservant solves crimes by pretending to have psychic powers. In fairness, the show is a lot angstier.
    • One episode of Psych actually namechecked The Mentalist referring to it as a "carbon copy", and Shawn himself is a fan of the show, though he prefers people not confuse him with that fake psychic.
    • Another episode has Shawn saying that he has an idea about a psychic show & they should pitch it to CBS...
    • However, Psych itself followed (and eventually replaced) another USA show, Monk, which also featured a freelance Bunny-Ears Lawyer detective.
    • It's been pointed out that both shows, along with several others, including the aforementioned Monk, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, and even House and Life are all really based off of Sherlock Holmes; an extremely intelligent yet quirky detective solves mysteries by noticing the little details. The only things that Psych and The Mentalist specifically have in common are the "fake psychic" thing and being set in California, and both shows use both of those elements very differently.
  • USA also released Burn Notice, a series about a small group of quirky ex-special operatives who use their skills to help out the little guy. Shortly after it became a hit, TNT released Leverage, a show about a small group of quirky ex-criminals who use their skills to help out the little guy.
    • It's worth noting that the Leverage page used to have "Spiritual Successor" listed on it with no less than 4 examples, and both the Burn Notice and Leverage pages compare the shows to The A-Team.
      • Not sure how it goes in the States, but in Australia, there seems to be a legal requirement for reviewers to describe Burn Notice as "The A Team for grownups'".
    • There's now a surge in intelligence community comedies (Covert Affairs, Chaos), which according to the LA Times was started by Burn Notice.
    • The appeal of Burn Notice and Leverage is what also probably led to the creation of White Collar.
  • After Caiga Quien Caiga became famous, "Los Raporteros" began fashioning themselves after Mario and co., with black suits, black glasses, an edgier song ("Como Estamos Hoy, Eh", replacing the softer and more rhythmical "Abarajame La Bañera") and more controversial lyrics.
  • The success of Gran Hermano prompted a wave of Argentinian reality TV shows, including Solos en la Casa, El Bar and Survivor Operación Robinson.
  • The success of La Niñera prompted more Argentinian remakes of American TV shows, including "Amas De Casa Deseperadas (Desperate Housewives)", "¿Quién es el Jefe? (Whos The Boss)" and the remake that was better than the original: "Casados Con Hijos (Married... with Children)"
  • The success of Rebelde Way prompted more Argentinian tween shows like Patito Feo, Casi Angeles and Floricienta Also this, combined with the success of High School Musical, prompted the Argentinian remake of that movie.
  • After Perdona Nuestros Pecados got canned, a slew of imitators tried to take its place. However, most of them missed the point and mutated into talk shows. Only one of them, Ran 15, actually does what PNP used to do.
  • 100% Lucha was created to fill the void after the cancellation of Titanes en el Ring.
  • Ghost Hunters inspired a wave (different from the wave of paranormal slasher horror movies) about paranormal investigations. Even the History channel got into the act.
  • It was unheard of to film a sitcom in front of a live audience until the success of I Love Lucy.
    • The production of I Love Lucy all but innovated everything you'll see in every sitcom since. The fact that it was filmed is what preserves it as the oldest television product that most Americans have ever seen, since it avoided the pitfalls of using videotape which would be wiped and reused later (since it was very expensive, and many networks were wiping videotape into the 1980s), or only existing today in the form of crude kinescopes (where a motion picture camera was pointed at a television monitor) that have little replay value today.
  • The raging success that was High School Musical was followed by a slew of easily-marketable Disney Channel movies—often featuring the channel's newest stars (Ashley Tisdale, Corbin Bleu, the Jonas Brothers etc). Meanwhile, Nickelodeon tried to get into the act with Spectacular!, a musical movie about a choir (who, for a change, performed "Eye of the Tiger") who failed because their leader insisted on doing the same old routines. The decision to cast Tammin Sursok (a soapie star best known in Australia) may not have been the greatest idea...
    • Ironically, HSM is basically Grease: The Next Generation.
    • Also MTV made the musical The American Mall. The less said about it the better.
    • You can also follow a very straight line connecting American Idol (specifically, when after a few seasons it became largely beholden to the voting whims of tween girls) to High School Musical to Glee.
    • And from Glee to other musical movies such as Joyful Noise and shows like Smash.
  • The success of Dirty Jobs and Deadliest Catch on Discovery Channel spawned a host of interesting/dangerous jobs Reality TV shows like Ice Road Truckers (History Channel), two about extreme loggers, one about lobstermen (although that might be the originator since a special about lobstermen was essentially a test run for Catch) and Swords, which is about sword fishermen.
  • Perhaps attributable to the success of Monk, a lot of "quirky investigative genius solves crimes" shows have popped up of late: Psych (the guy is a fake psychic), The Mentalist (the guy is a former fake psychic), Lie to Me (the guy is a Living Lie Detector), Bones (quirky forensic scientist), Raines (the guy is haunted by hallucinations of the murder victims until he solves the case), Body of Proof (Insufferable Genius medical examiner), Castle (the guy is a wisecracking mystery novelist), and arguably to a lesser extent Dexter (the guy is himself a serial killer) and Pushing Daisies (the guy can bring the dead back to life).
  • The protagonist of the new Body of Proof on ABC has been criticized for being a combination of House (brilliant doctor with mild pain problems who is usually right) and Temperance Brennan of Bones (quirky forensic scientist with poor social skills).
  • The success of Twilight may have led to The Vampire Diaries being produced for television. (It's a preexisting franchise example, since it's based on a series of books that preceded Twilight.)
  • Survivorman was about survival expert Les Stroud being dumped into the wilderness and trying to make his way to civilization before a Rescue Chopper comes to him in a given period of time. Man vs. Wild features survival expert Bear Grylls being dumped into the wilderness and trying to make his way to civilization. There were several differences between the two shows, such as Bear's camera crew vs. Les toting around several dozen pounds of cameras, and Les pragmatic approach to Bear's more extreme version. M v W also stages situations for Bear to demonstrate unlikely or worst-case techniques. These points are explained in more detail on both pages.
  • After Walking with Dinosaurs, there came a whole onslaught of documentaries with CGI dinosaurs. When Dinosaurs Roamed America, Dinosaur Planet, and Jurassic Fight Club, to name a few.
  • Life After People became the highest rated program in the history of The History Channel when it aired in January 2008. Just a few months later, The National Geographic Channel aired Aftermath: Population Zero which was practically the exact same show. Both shows are practically the television adaptation of the explosively popular book "The World Without Us," published in 2007.
  • Food Network has started making a large number of culinary-themed reality shows where one contestant is eliminated per show (or per round, in self-contained shows), a la American Idol. In addition, they now have a new show called Chefs vs. City, which is single legs of The Amazing Race with culinary-themed challenges, only two teams, in a single U.S. city, and the prize is "bragging rights."
  • It seems more than likely that the remake of V was inspired by the success of the remake of Battlestar Galactica.
    • As well as the remakes of The Bionic Woman and Knight Rider, though those didn't do so well.
      • And Stargate Universe, the cancellation of many of these series has ineveitably led to the death of the Science Fiction Genre on TV.
  • Star Trek and Lost in Space both trod heavily, in their different ways, in the footsteps of Forbidden Planet.
  • And it cannot be a coincidence that Doctor Who debuted on TV only a couple of years after George Pal's film version of H. G. Wells' The Time Machine won an Oscar.
  • Desperate Housewives inspired a slew of tv shows set in perfect suburban settings, such as Weeds, The Gates, and Pretty Little Liars, being touted as "Desperate Housewives for teens." While this is a concept that has been around for years, many more premiered when DH did.
    • Desperate Housewives also inspired a series of reality series about actual housewives and their social circles called Real Housewives (of Orange County, Atlanta, etc.). Most of them run on the Rule of Drama.
  • Jerseylicious on Style is an obvious copy of Jersey Shore. In general there have been a lot of New Jersey-related reality shows since Jersey Shore became incredibly popular.
  • The Osbournes jump-started the "everyday lives of celebrities" series of reality shows albeit mostly with B- to C-list tabloid fodder. It was followed by Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Living Lohan, etc.
    • It isn't. There have been whispers of a "reality show curse," and it isn't entirely unfounded. Almost every celebrity couple who has done a domestic reality show a la The Osbournes or Newlyweds has split up (only the original Ozzy and Sharon are still together.)
  • After American Pickers took off, various shows about finding/selling old stuff suddenly emerged, such as Pawn Stars and Auction Kings.
  • Top Gear. 3 overseas series for the official count, and several more with the same but different names.
  • The success of Star Trek: The Next Generation led to a slew of new Sci-Fi shows being made.
  • Pawn Stars has inspired a host of imitators related to antiques and valuable artifacts:
    • Other pawn shop shows, such as TLC's Pawn Queens, which is essentially a Distaff Counterpart of Pawn Stars, and TruTV's Hardcore Pawn, focusing on Detroit pawnbroker/scumbag Les Gold and his sleazy family;
    • Shows revolving around the purchasing of goods kept in storage lockers, like Auction Hunters and Storage Wars;
    • Shows dealing with auctions, such as Auction Kings;
    • Shows where merchants visit ordinary people and buy things that seem like worthless junk but can be resold at higher prices, such as American Pickers and its Canadian Spin-Off Canadian Pickers.
    • And now, A&E has already launched Duck Dynasty already, with Barter Kings coming really soon.
  • Duck Dynasty itself turned out to be a hit, resulting in a slew of "Rednecks doing things" shows, many of which missed the fact that the Duck Dynasty guys are extremely self-aware about redneck stereotypes and often poke fun at themselves rather than playing it completely straight.
  • ABC Family is doing this to itself now. After the success of The Secret Life of the American Teenager, it is releasing more melodramatic teen dramas, such as Pretty Little Liars, Switched at Birth, The Nine Lives of Chloe King, etc.
  • Animal Planet has given River Monsters this treatment by creating another fishing show called Hillbilly Handfishing.
  • It's taken a while but five years after it's launch we're beginning to see Mad Men clones in the form of BBC 2's The Hournote , ABC's Pan Am (which could also be called Mad Men ON A PLANE!), and NBC's The Playboy Club. These shows have the benefit of being released while their originator is on hiatus.
  • The high ratings of NBC's broadcasts of Peter Pan led to CBS hiring Julie Andrews and Rodgers and Hammerstein to make them the even more successful and often-remade Cinderella. Also, the acclaim Andrews received for her performance in My Fair Lady influenced CBS' decision to cast her in a Rags to Riches story.
    • Peter Pan motivated several networks to make fantasy musicals. CBS even obtained televising rights to The Wizard of Oz to keep up with this trend.
  • Lassie inspired a number of Heroic Pet Story shows, including Flipper and Skippy The Bush Kangaroo.
  • The success of Weeds has led Showtime to do a number of very similar shows with the same base (acclaimed actress stars in show about normal person with a dilemma), such as Nurse Jackie (Weeds with prescription drugs), The Big C (Weeds with cancer) and United States Of Tara (Weeds with multiple personality disorder). In fact, this seems to be most of their series output.
  • The Bachelor touched off a slew of dating shows. Then Joe Millionaire came along and tweaked the formula, so in addition to the progenitor, we have about a million versions with a slight twist (he's not rich, he's average-looking, he's a geek, et cetera).
  • Colombian telenovela Sin tetas no hay paraíso (There Is No Paradise Without Breasts) started the trend, apart from a remake with a bigger budget and a movie, of Darker and Edgier soaps in Latin Amerca (such as El Capo, El Cartel de los Sapos). These usually have a smaller duration, and are focused on drug lords, prostitution, corrupted politicians and being a soap disguised as a "serious drama".
  • The huge success of Saved by the Bell led to NBC executives eventually ordering a line of copies, including California Dreams. It eventually killed cartoons on Saturday Mornings for the network.
  • After Hot In Cleveland became a runaway hit, TV Land has been attempting to have lightning strike twice, creating a string of three-camera sitcoms featuring classic sitcom and Film veterans. Retired at 35 (George Segal, Jessica Walter), Happily Divorced (Fran Drescher, Rita Moreno), The Exes (Kristen Johnson, Wayne Knight, Donald Faison). It's contributed to TV Land's Network Decay (instead of showing classic sitcoms, it shows new sitcoms with classic sitcom actors), but they've been well received for the most part, so no one's really complaining too much.
  • Nickelodeon's Double Dare spawned a whole mess of kids' Game Shows in the U.S. with the intent of getting kids (and in some cases adults) Covered in Gunge. Amongst some of them: FunHouse, Slime Time, Treasure Mall, Skedaddle, Uh Oh!, Family Challenge, Wild And Crazy Kids, Figure It Out, What Would You Do?, and countless others.
  • The success of The BBC's Sherlock, a show about Sherlock Holmes in the present day, has inspired CBS to make their own modern-day Sherlock show titled Elementary. The BBC is considering taking CBS to court and has claimed that CBS had originally offered to remake Sherlock for American audiences. Possibly to avoid legal action, CBS turned their Watson into "Dr. Joan Watson" played by the Asian-American Lucy Liu.
  • When it was announced that Showtime was considering a TV adaptation of Chew, some thought it was inspired by hit Showtime series Dexter. Both Dexter and Tony Chu work in law enforcement and have disgusting side-activities that help them fight crime. But that's about as far as the similarities go.
    • Dexter may have also paved the way for United States Of Tara and Nurse Jackie. Both are dark dramedy shows concerning a person struggling with a mental problem, split personality disorder in the former and drug addiction in the latter.
    • Dexter may have inspired BBC's Luther, which is about a psychotic killer who partners with a cop to fight crime. Luther, in turn, may have inspired NBC's upcoming Hannibal, which is about psychiatrist/serial killer Hannibal Lecter partnering with an FBI agent to solve murders.
  • This happens a great deal with Singaporean television, especially the childrens' programming. My Classmate Dad is a Body Swap Sitcom that is Freaky Friday with a lower standard of spoken English. Cosmo and George is about an alien who befriends a human who shows him the ropes of living on earth, which is a startlingly original concept. Maggi & Me, about the relationship between a medium and an attractive female ghost, is very I Dream of Jeannie-esque. The Chinese-language drama serials are almost as bad in this respect. CID is CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, The Time Machine is uh..., Baby Blues is uh..., Beach. Ball. Babes. is Dead or Alive (specifically volleyball tournament game, that is), and Mrs P.I., is Scarecrow and Mrs. King. The best part is that even if the shows are tenuously original, the English translations of their names, as you can gather, ruin everything.
  • Not only was ABC's Wide World of Sports one of American television's longest of Long Runners, it inspired a raft of imitators both domestic (CBS's Sports Spectacular, NBC's Sportsworld, even ESPN itself) and international as well as several spinoffs (The American Sportsman, The Superstars, the Pro Bowlers Tour).
  • TLC does this to its own shows. After the success of Little People, Big World, they released more shows and specials about little people, such as The Little Couple and Little Chocolatiers. Similarly, after the success of Jon And Kate Plus Eight, they released more shows about large families, such as Table For 12 and 19 Kids and Counting.
  • TruTV is almost making Follow the Leader its hat. When it is not following the leader on its own shows (Lizard Lick Towing/Southern Fried Stings = Operation Repo) it is following them on other channels, such as the Discovery Channel or the History Channel. (Hardcore Pawn = Pawn Stars, Storage Hunters = Storage Wars, Police POV = COPS, Combat Pawn = Sons Of Guns / American Guns). They all have one common thread between them; several of them completely remove the educational aspects of the original shows (if there was one) in favor of pure over-the-top drama, which many suspect is scripted.
  • Worlds Wildest Police Chases inspired a whole slew of television shows about crazy events caught on police cameras. This eventually broadened into a whole genre of "crazy things caught on tape". Destroyed in Seconds, What Went Wrong, Most Shocking, Most Daring etc. Popular subjects include the North Hollywood Shootout and the San Diego Tank Chase. One of the few shows to take the formula and give it a twist is The Smoking Gun Presents: World's Dumbest, which adds celebrity commentary and views things from a comedic perspective.
  • Quite a few people have drawn comparisons between The Hunger Games and NBC's Revolution. The former's lead character is a teenage girl with a bow. The latter's lead is a teenage girl with a crossbow. As a sci-fi show based on an overarching mystery, Revolution also joins the ranks of LOST imitators like FlashForward (2009), The Event, and Terra Nova.
  • CBS's reboot of Match Game in 1973 prompted two comedy-game copycats from ABC two years later: Rhyme And Reason and a reboot of You Dont Say. Respectively they lasted a year, and four months.
  • The success of Game of Thrones led to a small but noticeable number of new shows, although mostly historical rather than fantasy: Vikings and The White Queen (which gets bonus points for being a retelling of the actual historical events that inspired A Song of Ice and Fire in the first place).
  • Doc Martin was shortly followed by the similar program Distant Shores, staring Peter Davison as a fish-out-of-water city doctor on the Northumbrian island Hildasay.
  • The Noggin show Sponk! is almost always described as "Whose Line Is It Anyway? with kids."
  • Boardwalk Empire (2010, set in 1920s Atlantic City) was followed by other 'classic' gangster shows set in exotic locations including Magic City (2012, 1958 Miami), Vega$ (2012, 1960 Las Vegas), Peaky Blinders (2013, 1919 Birmingham, UK), Bonnie and Clyde (2013, 1930s Texas) and Mob City (2013, 1947 Los Angeles). 2013 also saw two movies that banked either on classic gangsters (Gangster Squad) or 1920s excess (The Great Gatsby).
  • The Dinosaurs episode, "Dirty Dancing" has an in-universe example where the TV line-up consists of nothing but shows involving idiot fathers, following the success of the show, "Totally Innefectual Dad". It also includes a Take That to critics who accused Dinosaurs of being a The Simpsons knock-off:
    Earl: "This is why TV stinks. One show's a hit, they make 50 more just like it, with the same characters and the same premise."
    Baby: "Don't have a cow, man!"
  • Dallas spawned a whole raft of nighttime soaps, with its own spinoff Knots Landing and Dynasty being the most successful. Then there was Flamingo Road, Secrets Of Midland Heights, Berrenger's, Kings Crossing...
  • Gotham (Fox): The "leader" hasn't even premiered yet but it seems to have set off a bunch of DC Universe live-action TV adaptations in the wake of its hype: Lucifer (Fox), Constantine (NBC), and Teen Titans (unknown but possibly TNT), plus Arrow's spinoff The Flash (2014) (CW).

Series Unexpected Pregnancy Odd Couple Hot "Trophy" Wife Unusual Offspring Famous Father Figure Difference(s) from Modern Family Notes
Modern Family (ABC) Not in the first season May-December Romance; gay Odd Couple Spicy Latina Sofia Vagara KidAnova plus the actress who plays the daughter's real-life emancipation from her mother Al Bundy   Best Comedy Emmy three-peat (2010-2012)!
Parenthood (NBC) Unexpected love child Interracial couple, parents of said lovechild None (which isn't to say the wives/girlfriends aren't hot, just not dramatically so) The interracial boy plus a boy with Asperger Syndrome Coach Fox (or Mr. Incredible to the young'uns) ...as a drama chock-full of Very Special Episodes!
The New Normal (NBC) None, though there is a mom acting as a surrogate for aforementioned gay couple Gay couple None, though there is surrogate-mom's unusually hot mother Ms. Sponder (they had their kids young) Wise Beyond Their Years daughter of aforementioned surrogate One of the gay dads is the original Elder Price Aforementioned hot grandma is homophobic and possibly a Mrs. Bluth expy Cancelled after one season
1600 Penn (NBC) The first daughter's May-December romance First Couple Jenna Elfman as the Cindy McCain/Callista Gingrich-esque First Trophy Wife The original Elder Cunningham is the Man Child first son; the aforementioned pregnant daughter President Whitmore ...in the White House! Cancelled after 13 episodes
The Goldbergs (ABC) None/not yet None None Narrator kid is the show's creator; sister Erica is based on the creator's brother Eric Dad is The Axiom's Captain McCrea ... Based on a True Story in 1980-something with videotaped proof!
Blackish none (as far as I know) ditto ditto ditto Morpheus as the grandfather/father-in-law African-American/The New Tens Cosby Show version!

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