Agencies are distinctly underwhelmed by this autumn's television offerings which abound with copycat programmes.

Fox, part of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. is planning The Next Great Champ, a reality boxing show. While NBC, determined not to be left out of the ring, has dreamt up The Contender.

Fox and NBC have also slated dramas set in Hawaii and even come up the same ideas for medical programmes.

The notion, that great minds think alike, isn't one that's gained much approval from adland.

Stacey Lynn Koerner, director of global research for Initiative Media said that so many similar concept shows would be: "one of the motivators for viewers to look to cable."

It could give disgruntled advertisers further cause to switch their dollars out of the networks and into cable or other sectors.

The advertisers, already frustrated by last year's double-digit rate hikes, may feel less than elated at being confronted by Fox's reality legal show The Partner or, its NBC equivalent, The Apprentice.

CBS is pitting CSI: Crime Scene Investigation against NBC's Law & Order. The list of similarities, it seems, is endless.

Of the Big Four networks CBS has been awarded the highest number of merit points for being most original with five new series. One is a show about the favourite sport of every red-blooded American, baseball.

Another is a drama featuring Rob Lowe. Unfortunately Lowe recently appeared on a show which bombed on NBC.

Koerner didn't say outright whether she felt Lowe could find himself appearing in another turkey. "It really depends on the execution, " she said diplomatically.

Data sourced from The Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff