"Nip/Tuck," FX's edgy plastic surgery drama with the outrageous plot lines, is back, and already this season (its third) we've witnessed the wall-busting removal of a 650-pound woman from her house, a menage a trois and plastic surgery to beautify an ape. Yes, an ape. May not be your cup of tea, but it's setting ratings records for FX and ranks among cable's top-watched series. In other words, ripe for ripping off. Enter "Inconceivable," NBC's new ostensibly edgy drama, which takes place in a fertility clinic, features "Nip/Tuck"-esque shocker plot lines, but has been, dare we say, impotent in its ratings. (NBC insists it isn't canceling the show, despite pulling it from its schedule last week.)

So why is "Inconceivable" struggling while "Nip/Tuck" is flourishing? The similarities are striking.

-- John Maynard

The dishy-accented doc

"Nip/Tuck" features the dashing, hyper-promiscuous Aussie-tinged Dr. Christian Troy (Julian McMahon) and his transforming scalpel. Meanwhile, his doppelganger, "Inconceivable's" dashing, sex-crazed, British-brogued Dr. Malcolm Bowers (Jonathan Cake) is a pro with the petri dish.

The hot blonde

of questionable morals

We've followed the journey of unstable Kimber Henry (Kelly Carlson) on "Nip/Tuck" from coke habit to porn industry executive. Now "Inconceivable" gives us nurse Patrice Locicero (Joelle Carter), who seeks revenge on commitment-phobic Dr. Bowers by swapping his sperm with that of a hopeful father who just happens to be a minister.

The (cringe) medical malpractice lawsuit

In Season 1, the boys in "Nip/Tuck" left a medical instrument in the body of a surgery-addicted patient who quickly sought the advice of counsel. The "Inconceivable" gang is being threatened by a couple whose surrogate gave them an unexpected gift, which brings us to . . .

The surprise mixed-race baby

The first-season finale of "Nip/Tuck" found Dr. Troy witnessing the delivery of what he believed to be his child. Waah. Smack. Not my baby. Ditto for that same couple using a surrogate on "Inconceivable." (Come to think of it, NBC's "My Name Is Earl" pulled the same stunt in its premiere last month. Trend? Or proof that there are many writers in Los Angeles but only one brain?)