'Sex' still sells on TV nets

3 series drawn from HBO comedy

The spirit of "Sex and the City" is living on with three new one-hour projects that bear some of "Sex's" DNA -- NBC's "Lipstick Jungle," a dramedy based on "Sex" author Candace Bushnell's follow-up to her smash best-seller; ABC's "Cashmere Mafia," from "Sex" creator-executive producer Darren Star, described as "the next generation of 'Sex and the City' "; and ABC's "Women's Murder Club," dubbed "CSI" meets "Sex and the City."

The three shows -- all revolving around a trio or quartet of girlfriends -- have already created a bond: They were picked up to pilots on the same day in January, and four months later they all were ordered to series on the same day.

Through the years, the broadcast networks have made several attempts to launch a successful new series in the vein of "Sex" -- NBC's short-lived comedies "Leap of Faith," from "Sex" alumna Jenny Bicks, and "Coupling," an American version of the U.K.'s "Sex"/"Friends" hybrid, come to mind. Coincidentally, NBC's "Coupling" starred Lindsay Price, who is one of the leads in "Lipstick."

Unlike those half-hour series, "Lipstick," "Cashmere" and "Club" are all one-hour shows, which, given the dire straits the half-hour business is in right now, should boost their chances of success.

For instance, "Ugly Betty" took off on ABC as a one-hour dramedy after several unsuccessful attempts to adapt the Colombian format as a half-hour series. ABC's "Desperate Housewives," the show which was hailed as a symbolic successor to "Sex" by being assigned to Sunday 9 p.m. after the end of the HBO series, is also hourlong. And Bicks followed up "Faith" with the one-hour dramedy "Men In Trees," which is returning for a second season on ABC.

So, for those die-hard fans of the hit HBO comedy, there will be plenty of opportunities to get their "Sex" fix on broadcast TV next season. If some of the new series don't last long, there are always the cleaned-up repeats of the original on TBS.