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Names The Same: Live-Action TV

  • Niles is either the Sheffields' butler in The Nanny or Frasier Crane's brother.
  • Several shows — including Scrubs, Community, and Charmed — feature a character whose first name or family name is Perry. It can be an angry doctor's in the first show, a rebellious student in the second or a future whitelighter in the latter.
  • Is Alex a girl with paranormal powers or the smart middle child in Modern Family?
  • Joshua on Community is either a gardener who makes racist commentaries or a spoiled-brat child who works for Chang.
  • Phoebe is either one of the witchy sisters in Charmed or one of the titular Friends.
  • Natalie is both a whitelighter who appears to be very strict and Mr. Monk's second assistant.
  • Buckland is both Prue's boss (and a warlock) and a lawyer for Sacred Heart Hospital.
  • Several episodes of the '80s Twilight Zone series have characters with the same first name.
    • For example, Peter can be a trader who isn't interested by love, an ill boy who can communicate with a girl from the past or a poker player whose soul belongs to devil. Also, there is a Peter in the first episode but is name is actually known.
    • Is Bob an alcoholic driver or a restaurant owner ?
    • Jeff? Is he a boy with imaginary friends or a man who refused to fight in Vietnam ?
  • Is Lilly the Foster-Lambert only child or the Tucker -Pritchett adopted girl ?
    • Mark is either Carol's only son or an ex cop whose mission is to help people.
    • On the other side, Al is either an hologram, a tomboy or an irresponsible dad (with an H).
    • JT who almost shares his name with a intern from Scrubs except his name is JD.
    • And TJ in Recess with reversed initials.
  • 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.
    • Beckett is also the name of a female cop in Castle.
  • Cameron from House is an immunologist. Cameron from Modern Family is a school music teacher, then a sport coach. They also don't share the same genre, as the first Cameron is female while the second is a man.
    • In the Quantum Leap episode "The Kamikazi Kid", Sam leaps into Cameron Wilson. Cameron and Wilson are also the names of two medical members of House, the second being an oncologist and House's best friend.
    • In Modern Family, Cam's big sister's name is Pam and she shares her first name with Cam's lesbian friend.
  • The Avengers has two episodes featuring a diabolical mastermind named Glover. One is a millionaire and the other is a doctor who wants to contaminate people with a cold virus.
  • 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).
  • The character River Song of Doctor Who was eventually revealed to be originally Melody Pond. A recurring character on Law & Order was called Miranda Pond; both characters are played by Alex Kingston.
  • This Trope was the basis of the 1951-55 Game Show The Names 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 is produced by one Adam Sandler, who is not the same as the actor.
    • Once again with the in-work examples, they've had two different pricing games called Bullseye and Balance Game.
  • Two unrelated shows called Double Dare: The Goodson-Todman quiz show from 1976 and the Nickelodeon messy stunt-fest from ten years later. Interestingly, Edd Kalehoff composed the themes of both shows!
  • 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.
  • There's been wondering if either Hodges or Hodgins was on Monk as the murderer of the week (It was Hodges).
  • 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.
    • Think of the Cardassian race whenever the Kardashian sisters are mentioned.
    • Word of God is that the Tamarians and the Temerians fought a war over who got which name.
  • Star Trek: Voyager's EMH is generally referred to as simply "The Doctor". No, not that one.
  • A contender in the 2008 version of American Gladiators went by the unlikely name of "Jerry Garcia".
  • Minor example in Frasier: Doctor Crane and his brother, Doctor Crane. Neither works at Arkham Asylum.
  • Walter Bishop of Moonlighting and Walter Bishop of Fringe are not the same guy.
  • In Wizards of Waverly Place, Tribeca Prep's team name is the "Turkeys", as is Moperville North.
  • The Best of Groucho was used as a name for Summer repeats of You Bet Your Life airing on NBC in the 50s, as well as the re-edited version of the show airing in Syndication in the mid 70s.
  • Dr. Mark Sloan: chief of medicine at Community General, or a plastic surgeon at Seattle Grace?
  • Uncle Jesse: When you hear this name, do you think of The Dukes of Hazzard, or Full House?
  • When Power Rangers fans think of the "Turbo Rangers", they think of the team featured in Power Rangers Turbo, an adaptation of Gekisou Sentai Carranger. However, there was an earlier Super Sentai series titled Kousoku Sentai Turboranger. Even the Gokaigers got both teams mixed-up when they accidentally transformed into the Turborangers when they wanted to transform into the Carrangers. There's also a vehicle called Turboranger in Hikari Sentai Maskman, but the pronunciation is different (it's actually pronounced "Turborunger").
  • In an episode of The Cosby Show, Theo winds up in possession of a joint owed by a male classmate named Tony Braxton. Not to be confused with female Toni Braxton, the singer.
  • One episode of Criminal Minds featured a victim named Bobbie Barrett.
  • You've got to wonder whether Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy has ever come across any of Dr. Temperance "Bones" Brennan's work in literature or forensic antropology.
  • Chris Keller is either a Depraved Bisexual on Oz or a Jerkass Musician on One Tree Hill.
  • Dan Briggs: the original IMF team leader from Mission: Impossible or the Desk Sargent from the Felony Squad.
  • ALF and the aforementioned Full House both have families named "Tanner".
  • Both Friday Night Lights and Degrassi have High School teams named "Panthers" with school colo(u)rs blue and gold. A classic Justified Trope since neither series uses Where The Hell Is Springfield? with one school in Texas and the other in Toronto.
  • In the '70s, not only was there Captain Barney Miller from the TV series of the same name, there was also rogue bionic agent Barney Miller on The Six Million Dollar Man.
  • 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.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Doctor Who both feature a prominent villain known only as The Master.
    • Doctor Who itself has featured two villains called the Master. The first only appeared in a 60s Bizarro Episode, and the Time Lord introduced in 1971 became so popular that they have never quite gotten rid of him.
    • Years before Buffy there was a TV show called Family Affairs with a character named Buffy and her British butler, Giles.
      • Family Affairs was also the name of a long-running British soap opera in the 1990s-2000s.
  • "Friday Night Lights" features a Lyla Garrity, as did the very short-lived 2000 show "Wonderland" by the same creator, Peter Berg, who states that both characters are named for his first big crush, who was his childhood dentist's daughter.
  • 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".
  • Davy Jones in The Monkees is not a character from nautical folklore or Pirates of the Caribbean. However, he was responsible for another Davy Jones changing his name to David Bowie.
    • 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 the third Final Destination movie (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 Hickley 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.
  • Samuel Anders is Clarissa's best friend on Clarissa Explains It All. Samuel Anders is also a character from the reimagined Battlestar Galactica.
  • 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.
  • Angel had a regular guest-star called Kate Locksley. Robin Hood had a character called Kate of Locksley. Ironically, both were disliked by the fan-base on account of their abrasive personalities and roles as Replacement Love Interests and Replacement Scrappies to more popular female characters.
  • Rachel Reilly, a contestant on the 13th series of the US version of Big Brother, shares her name (though not the exact spelling) with Rachel Riley, a presenter on the UK gameshow Countdown.
  • Punky Brewster: both live action and cartoon share the episode title "The Perils Of Punky." Content of each version are very different.
  • The Defenders: The first from 1962, the second from 2010. Both unrelated to each other apart from being on CBS.
  • The Avengers has been used as the name of a 1960s UK spy-fi show and a team of superheroes in the Marvel universe.
  • Both the Star Trek and James Bond universes feature characters named Q.
  • A promo for ESPN features a pudgy, balding white man named "Michael Jordan" and portrays the disbelief and disappointment of people who expecting the "other" Jordan meet him.
  • Mike Nelson: Protector of the Sea or Destroyer of Worlds? Also counts in 'Other', as the latter is using his real name.
  • Dr Harley Quinn in the DC universe and Harley Quin in Agatha Christie's "The Mysterious Mr Quin". Also four different DC Comics universe villainesses called Harlequin.
  • Lucy Lane in the DC universe is Lois Lane's younger sister. She shares her name with Detective Inspector Lucy Lane in UK 1990s detective drama Wycliffe.
  • Both EastEnders and Beverly Hills 90210 have featured characters named Kelly Taylor.
  • Both EastEnders and The O.C. have featured characters named Julie Cooper.
  • Holby City has used the title "Blood Ties" for two different episodes: Series 9 Episode 18 and Series 15 Episode 12.
  • Happy Days, which we all know for Fonzie, Richie, etc., was also a variety series that aired on CBS in the summer of 1970. The "happy days" of the latter referred to the 30's and 40's.
    • Happy Days itself had two different episodes entitled Great Expectations.
  • Rebecca Knight who plays Anna in the BT ads is not Rebecca Knight who sings with The Opera Babes, or a singer-songwriter who does vocals with Ministry Of Sound and Hed Kandi.
  • Charley Webb who plays Debbie Dingle in Emmerdale is a different person from the Charley Webb who sings with her sister, Hattie, as The Webb Sisters.
  • Coronation Street actor Ryan Thomas shares a name with a one-off character in the CSI episode "Bittersweet".
    • Coronation Street character Amy McDonald shares a name, though not an exact spelling, with Scottish singer Amy Macdonald and US author Amy Mac Donald.
  • 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 Siān Lloyd. Also in the news business was journalist Shan Lloyd.
  • The Watchers are either a group of stuffy British guys who find and train superpowered girls to slay vampires or a society of men and women who observe and record, but never interfere and who know the truth about immortals
  • Cole Hauser, the fake name taken by Tracker character Cole/Daggon in a couple eps is the name of a real life, if slightly lesser known, actor.
  • Supernatural features a single-episode character who goes by the name "Amy Pond." It's an alias, but there is no evidence within the show that it was intentionally taken from Doctor Who.
  • Two with the name Second Chance: the 1977 precursor to Press Your Luck and a 1987 Fox sitcom with Matthew Perry.
  • Jamie Oliver-TV chef or keyboardist with Welsh band Lostprophets?
  • Katie Sutherland, Neil's sister in The Inbetweeners, shares a name with Katie Pearl Sutherland, former lead singer of Scots band Pearl and the Puppets and now a solo artist.
  • Alex Jones, a US newsman, shares a name with the Welsh female presenter of The One Show.
  • The Chase was the name of a short-lived (2006-07) BBC 1 drama, before the same title was used for an ITV 1 gameshow hosted by Bradley Walsh since 2009.
  • 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.
    • Also the long-running Australian soap opera.
  • 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!
  • Luther character DCI Erin Gray shares a name with an actress who played Wilma Deering on Buck Rogers in the 25th Century and Kate on Silver Spoons.
  • EastEnders and Home and Away have both had characters called Grant Mitchell.
  • Charlie Duncan.
  • 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.
  • There are two different shows called Nashville; a reality series for FOX in 2007 and a drama with Mrs. Coach and Claire the cheerleader as country stars that began in 2012.
  • 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 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.

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