Buoyed by the success of Queer as Folk (which debuted at the end of 2000) Showtime produced a 1-hour drama about a group of lesbian friends and lovers called The L Word. It premiered on January 18, 2004.
Except for their same-sex themes the two series were very different: 1) QAF took place in Rust Belt Pittsburgh while The L Word was set in sunny and trendy Los Angeles/West Hollywood. 2) The L Word had more "name" actresses: Jennifer Beals, Pam Grier, Marlee Matlin and Cybil Shepherd. QAF had one, Sharon Gless. 3) QAF had a lesbian couple (Lindsay and Melanie) but L Word incorporated very little about the lives of gay men into its storylines. 4) The L Word ran for six seasons, one more than Queer as Folk. However, QAF aired thirteen more episodes (83 vs. 70).
After the series concluded in March 2009 Showtime aired a reality series that came out in the summer of 2010 called The Real L Word.