Thomas Beckett is either a soldier who was saved in Vietnam by his young brother Sam in Quantum Leap or an Army general who was the father of Maggie in Sliders. Popular fanon is that they're one and the same character.
In a dual Video Games and Live Action TV Name's the Same, Doctor Who mentions a... thing from the Time War named The Nightmare Child. Meanwhile, the multimedia promotion of the KISS reunion album "Psycho Circus" featured the Colon Cancer suffering but surprisingly good First-Person Shooter Kiss: Psych Circus: The Nightmare Child for the Sega Dreamcast and PC, with the main villain being the titular Nightmare Child (who lived up to his name, as did the arena you fought him in, which was covered in eyes that shot shuriken).
This Trope was the basis of the 1951-55 Game ShowThe Name's The Same, a What's My Line? clone with contestants that share a name with a famous person, place, or thing. There's also Same Name, with celebrities trading places with the civilians with the same name.
Before "Bankrupt", "I'd like to buy a vowel", and "I'd like to solve the puzzle", Wheel of Fortune was the name of a CBS game which aired from 1952-53. In that version, a wheel determined prizes awarded to people who did good deeds.
Wheel also provides an in-work example, as the show had two different categories called Fill In the Blank. After about a year in which both were used, one of them was renamed Next Line Please. Both are now retired.
The Price Is Right has a pricing game called "Pass The Buck". Not to be confused with the short-lived 1978 CBS game show Pass The Buck (hosted by Bill Cullen).
The Price Is Right also had a pricing game called "Blank Check" which shared its name with the short-lived Barry & Enright game show Blank Check. The pricing game is now known as "Check Game" after Enright threatened to sue Mark Goodson Productions for trademark infringement.
Before the 90s courtroom drama The Practice, there was an early 70s one season sitcom starring Danny Thomas as a doctor who refuses to give up his practice in a low income neighborhood despite the protests of his Private Practice son.
In between the two there was a British TV series called The Practice as well (a soap set in the world of medicine). Luckily the gaps in between all three shows were so wide that no one was confused and no retitling was done (both US shows of that name have aired in Britain).
Both ER and Friends have a character named Rachel Greene, with different ages but somewhat-similar personalities and sometimes-similar spellings (Friends never decided whether their Rachel officially had the extra E on the end of her surname or not).
Both ER and E/R were set in a hospital and starred an unknown young actor named George Clooney.
Eric Foreman is the black neurologist from House; Eric Forman (no "e") is the slacker from That '70s Show. Try not to get them confused.
Interestingly, this happens within Star Trek. Though the spelling varies (since the spelling's never shown onscreen, it's irrelevant to the fan on the street), the name "Terellian" gets used a lot for species that can't be related. We've gotta assume the Delta Quadrant ones ("Drive") aren't any of the Alpha Quadrant ones, and among the Alpha Quadrant ones, the four-armed ones mentioned once ("Liaisons") can't be the two-armed ones with the disease ("Haven") or the two-armed boxer ("The Fight")... and the "Haven" and "Fight" Terellians look nothing like each other. That makes at least four species with the same name. The Enterprise in TNG supposedly has some, but the Human Alien version's diseased and no members of the other three are ever seen on the ship, so... that's five. And that's only if we're charitable and assume all mentions of off-screen Terellians, or of things said to be Terellian ("Terellian spices," "Terellian laser art," etc.) are by one of those five. There could possibly be more. If all spelling variants are intentional, the minimum goes up to six. Hardly surprising that Picard gets confused in "Suddenly Human", and refers to the Talarians as Terellians.
While it doesn't justify the lack of distinguishing between them, it should be noticed that many planets have several different species, which would account for a few of these Terellians.
Plus, between movie number six and Deep Space Nine, there are two Dax of two different species, with very different tastes in shoes.
Word of God is that the Tamarians and the Temerians fought a war over who got which name.
Though the names are not quite spelled the same, there is also Joe Gibken, Gokai Blue, and Jō Ōhara from Choujuu Sentai Liveman. It's mentioned in universe and used to highlight their similar problems with friends turned enemies.
Venjix is the name of two separate Power Ranger villains - the general who led The Remnant of the Machine Empire in the 10-yearMilestone Celebration, and the Big Bad of Power Rangers RPM. While both villains are robotic / AI in nature, there's nothing to suggest any connection beyond that. The Machine Empire Venjix is pretty conclusively blown up at the end of his one appearance, while we see the creation of RPM Venjix via flashback.
Before there was Jack Shephard on Lost, there was the serial killer Jack Shepard in the movie Frequency. As a bonus, both starred Elizabeth Mitchell, and the actor who played Shepard in the movie (Shawn Doyle) guest-starred on Lost in season 4.
They share a name but not a spelling with actors Jack Shepherd of Wycliffe and Jack P. Shepherd of Coronation Street.
Toei used the name Jiraiya for two different tokusatsu heroes. The first was the title character of Sekai Ninja Sen Jiraiya, whose civilian identity was Toha Yamaji. The other was Ninja Black from Ninja Sentai Kakuranger, whose civilian identity happened to be "Jiraiya".
This was referenced in the episode "Hitting the High Seas". The ship's captain learns that one of the boys is named Davy Jones and assumes he is the descendant of the famous character from folklore - Micky quickly plays into it: "...and when he's 25, he'll inherit the Locker!".
If Captain Jack Pirates of the Caribbean meets Captain Jack Doctor Who/Torchwood what would happen answer Jack(DW/TW) being anything that moves would flirt with Jack and pirate Jack being himself wouldn't care.
A tale of two Davids: Actor Vincent Irizarry as David Chow from The Young and the Restless, or the notorious Dr. David Hayward from All My Children.
Richard Hatch: Heroic original-era Battlestar Galactica lead actor, or villainous Survivor winner/tax evader.
The "Blancmanges from outer space" sketch on Monty Python's Flying Circus opens on one Harold Potter. He is explicitly stated to be too boring and normal to bother with, and the camera pans right past him.
During 2009, on Sci-Fi TV, Stargate SG-1 (starring Colonel Samantha Carter) was broadcast just before Eureka (starring Sheriff Jack Carter). When the Voice Over announced the next episode, that Carter faced some Sci-Fi adventure, you couldn't tell which program was being announced.
McKinley is a high school plagued by Death in Final Destination 3 (the fourth reveals that it's the name of the town the school is in) and the high school Glee takes place in. So, if you see someone dying in a freak accident while singing a pop song, you'll know who to blame for that.
The Greatest American Hero's name was originally Ralph Hinkley. But less than 2 weeks after the pilot aired, John Hinckley shot President Reagan so the show changed his name to Ralph Hanley for the rest of the season. For episodes that had already been taped, they dubbed over his name to either block it out entirely (like with a plane flying loudly overhead), or to make his students say "Mr. H." By the second season, I guess ABC felt that enough time had passed, so his name was back to Ralph Hinkley for the rest of the show.
The Late Show hosted by David Letterman or the movie The Late Show. Don't confuse the latter with The Late Shift, a movie about how Letterman eventually got the former.
There's also a late show in Australia, a BBC arts program that aired in the early-90s, and a Canadian CBC radio documentary that provides listeners with extended obituaries.
An unusual example, in that they have different names, but identical initials, by which they are almost always referred to rather than by their proper names. There's a "J.D." (John Dorian) on Scrubs, a medical doctor with a propensity for Imagine Spots, and a very different "J.D." (Jason Dean) in the movie Heathers, a homicidal teenager. Funny enough, the actor of that last character (Christian Slater) later played yet another "J.D." in the movie Film.Mindhunters.
Jason Dean shares his name with a Charmed season five/six character.
The second generation of Skins featured a James Cook and a Naomi Campbell. The latter is briefly given a little Lampshade Hanging when she becomes angry on her first appearance on the show. Averted in Real Life in that the twin who played Katie was Megan Prescott, rather than her sister, Kathryn, who played Emily.
There is also a real-life James Cook who is a BBC Scotland correspondent.
In an episode of Goodnight Sweetheart, Gary meets a man in the 1940s who happens to be called George Harrison, though, according to Gary, "The hair's wrong."
The NCIS episode "SWAK" features a character called Dr. Brad Pitt. It is pointed out that he is no relation to the actor.
NCIS does it again in the episode "Chasing Ghosts", where the victim of the week who was actually the culprit, having faked his own kidnapping and death was named Noah Daniels.
"Annie Walker" has been used as the name of a Coronation Street snoot, a CIA trainee in Covert Affairs, and the protagonist and maid of honor in the 2011 comedy movie Bridesmaids.
Manic Street Preachers sang about Kevin Carter the Pulitzer-prize winning photographer, another was an American National Football League player, while still another turned up as the victim in the CSI:NY episode "Dead Reckoning".
BBC Wales news presenter Sian Lloyd shares her name with ITV weather presenter Siân Lloyd. Also in the news business was journalist Shan Lloyd.
Alex Reid-UK male boxer involved with model Jordan (Katie Price), or UK actress who appeared as probation officer Sally in Misfits?
Sam GRAY is a UK male singer-songwriter. Sam GREY is a UK actress who played Alice Chantrey in Casualty.
There have been at least 5 different drama series called The Doctors, not counting Doctors, plus a factual medical talk show called The Doctors. None of them have anything to do with Gallifrey's most well-known inhabitant.
ABC has had two shows called The Neighbors. One was a 1975 Game Show hosted by Regis Philbin; the other, a 2012 sci-fi sitcom.
EastEnders character Charlie Slater shares a name with a real BBC weatherman.
Since 2000, there have been at least 8 different movies bearing the title After The Fall.
Bridget Jones-fictional London-based diarist. Bridgette Jones-real-life guitarist with punk bands Fluffy and Darling.
Hollyoaks character Amy Barnes had the same name as actress Amy Leigh Barnes, who actually appeared in a minor role in the show, and her domestic violence storyline chillingly echoed the reality of the actress' tragic death.
Hollyoaks has featured characters called Elizabeth Taylor and Sinead O'Connor.
Holby City character Dr. Elliot Hope shares a name with scriptwriter Elliot Hope, who has written for the show...long after the character was introduced!
The name Nicola Mc Lean is shared by an English glamour model and a Scottish beauty queen.
Doc Martin had PC Mark Mylow and, later, publican Mark Bridge, the latter narrowly avoiding sharing a name with a convicted UK child-killer, Mark Bridger.
Emmerdale has a Bob Hope, who has no connection to the US comedian.
The Wycliffe episode The Last Rites features a character called the Rev. Michael Jordan, who is most definitely not the American basketball player.
ALISON Scott is a major character in the movie Knocked Up. ALLISON Scott was a one-off character in the CSI: New York episode Veritas.
Two episodes of the 1960s sci-fi show Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea bore the title The Creature.
The Bill used the same titles for different episodes several times.
CASSIE Ainsworth was a character in the first generation of Skins. KACEY Ainsworth was an actress who played Little Mo in EastEnders.
Sophie Deveraux is a powerful witch in The Originals. Another show, Leverage, also has a character named Sophie Devereaux (with the "e").
Two episodes of Daniel Boone bore the title The Traitor.
Helen Forrester was the name of a fictional prison governor in 1970s UK drama Within These Walls, and a real UK author who wrote about her experiences of growing up in Liverpool during the Great Depression.
KELLY Holmes was a British middle distance athlete. WDC KERRY Holmes was a character in The Bill.
Jim Fenner was a corrupt prisoner officer in Bad Girls. Jack Fenner was a one-off profiteer/rogue shopkeeper in the Foyle's War episode The French Drop. Presumably both men had James on their respective in-universe birth certificates.
UK actress Jade Williams (Black Hearts in Battersea) shares a name with UK singer Jade Williams, otherwise known as Sunday Girl.
Incidentally, the latter's stage name has nothing to do with Blondie, but refers to her working in a pet shop as a teenager.
Prisoner Cell Block H was entitled Prisoner in its native Australia. This was amended for UK and US audiences to avoid confusion with The Prisoner.
Prisoner featured a drug dealer named George Lucas, not to be confused with the US film producer.
Dani Beck (female) was temporarily a detective with the Special Victims Unit; Danny Beck (male) is a military man doing something suspicious on Bones.
The Law & Order franchise has two characters named Amanda Rollins; one a major character on SVU, and the other a guest character on Criminal Intent.
KERI McGrath was a nurse on Holby City. KERRY McGrath was a DA in a TV murder mystery movie called Let Me Call You Sweetheart.
Two different shows called Bedlam featured on UK TV in the early 2010s, the first a supernatural drama on Sky Living, the second a mental health documentary on Channel 4.
In Star Trek, a replicator is a machine capable of creating (and recycling) objects. In Stargate SG-1, a replicator is an antagonistic self-replicating machine that propagate by ingesting the metals that make up civilizations and use them to create either blocks that form the bug-like version or smaller cells that compose the human-form "Replicators".
Shawn Ashmore's character on The Following is named Mike Weston. He's most likely not the Michael Westen who famously received a Burn Notice.
BBC 1 drama Waterloo Road shares a name with a 1945 British film.
in 2001, BBC 1 screened a short lived sitcom about a taxi driver called Paul Clark. That same summer, the second series of the UK version of Big Brother featured a housemate called Paul Clarke, who was a car designer.
An episode of CSI: New York features characters having the same name as a plot point. Detective Mac Taylor stumbles upon some victims who are also named Mac Taylor, and has to track down a killer who only knows the name but no description or personal information. The killer got the name from a parking garage schedule and wanted revenge for a hit-and-run accident that killed his girlfriend. After killing one guy who turned out not to have a car at all, he began trying to check car keys, but this in itself started fights leading to an accidental death and putting a woman in the hospital.
Alex Russo, the main character from Wizards of Waverly Place, and Alex Rousseau, Ben's adopted daughter from Lost. The last names are spelled differently but pronounced the same.
Casualty and Home and Away have both featured characters named Sam Nicholls, the former female, the latter male.
Nescobar A-lop-lop is either an English student who loves two women on My Name Is Earl or a soccer player on The Millers. Considering it's Greg Garcia, it could be the same character (he was played by the same actor both times).
Jo Bennett: Josephine "Jo" Bennett, Paige Matthews' alter-ego in early Charmed season 8, or Joleen "Jo" Bennett, the CEO of Sabre in The Office?
On 30 Rock Wesley Snipes, insurance claims adjuster, complains that if you were to show someone a picture of himself and the actor Wesley Snipes and asked who should have that name you'd pick the pale Englishman every time.
Strike it Rich can refer to one of two different game shows. The first was a charitable (but exploitative) show from the 1950s while the second was an adaptation of Britain's Strike It Lucky which aired briefly in the 1980s.
Before the Whammy became an iconic game show figure on Press Your Luck, there was a figure called Sammy the Whammy on a 1960s game show called Beat The Odds. Contestants tallied scores by creating four-and-five-letter words from letters spun on two wheels (the words had to start with the first letter and end with the second). A wheel stopping on Sammy wiped a player's score to zero.
Patrick Quinn: Fake name of Kerry Ketcham, the infamous fugitive who appeared on Super Password, or Jeopardy! Teachers' Tournament winner?
Both Doctor Who and Star Trek have planets named Vulcan. Neither is a reference to the other.
Dean Johnson on PBS's Hometime shared a last name with the show's final co-shot Miriam Johnson.
Robbie was a character in an old Nickelodeon show, but is his last name Shapiro or Rotten?
Actress Haley Pullos, who played Molly on General Hospital, also played a character by that name on Instant Mom. It's quite possibly an intentional shout-out, if not implied to be the exact same character.