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  • The 4400: In "The Marked" and "Ghost in the Machine", Drew Imroth, the billionaire CEO of the computer giant Ubient Software and one of the Marked, is very clearly based on Bill Gates.
  • Deepak Chopra guest starred on an episode of Angel... in a manner of speaking. In "I Fall to Pieces", Angel tracks down a thinly-disguised motivational guru who served as inspiration to a killer Psychic Surgeon. He explains that he quit teaching after his pupil mastered the quantum-cellular control theorized in his book. In other words, the guru never believed in his own wild theories and was severely traumatized when they came true.
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  • An episode of A.N.T. Farm has an obvious one of Lady Gaga called "Madame GooGoo".
  • Beakman's World based a few of its Famous Dead Guys on celebrities. A few that stick out are Ben Franklin as either a clean Andrew Dice Clay or Rodney Dangerfield, and Charles Goodyear as Jim Backus as Thurston Howell from Gilligan's Island, complete with calling the female assistant "Lovey". (Not coincidentally, they also show clips from old Mr. Magoo cartoons.)
  • Beetleborgs has Flabber the phasm who, according to the producers, was based on Elvis Presley but to some resembled The Tonight Show host Jay Leno, but has the mannerisms of Jim Carrey. In one episode of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, a picture of Flabber was sent to Leno during the Monday headlines segment. It got laughs from the audience, but Leno was not too pleased.
  • Black Mirror
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    • The plot of "The National Anthem" revolves around a beloved Royal Princess getting kidnapped. Depending on who you ask, it's either Princess Diana or Kate Middleton the princess is modeled after.
    • The game designer Shou Saito from "Playtest" has more than a few similarities with Hideo Kojima.
  • In Boston Legal, Gracie Jane is a thinly-disguised Nancy Grace.
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine's DC Parlov bears an undeniable resemblance to George R. R. Martin.
  • Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer owes a lot to Billy Idol; or as Buffy said in one episode "Actually Billy Idol stole his look from...nevermind." There's a flashback sequence to the last slayer Spike killed set in 1977 where it's a lot more blatant.
    • One episode features a flashback to the '70s, and slayer who seems heavily modeled after Pam Grier.
  • Madame Ybarra from Café Americain was a thinly-veiled spoof of Imelda Marcos.
  • Baxter Sarno in Caprica is essentially an amalgamation of Jay Leno and Jon Stewart - with a little bit of an emphasis on the latter. Also played by Patton Oswalt.
  • Castle has a couple of examples, the most blatant being in "Pretty Dead" with a rich beauty pageant organizer with a comb over that looks suspiciously like Donald Trump.
    • The episode "An Embarrassment of Bitches" includes a self-obsessed, rich reality tv star Kay Cappuccio, who seems suspiciously similar to Kim Kardashian. Of course, she was also portrayed as a pretty nice person being exploited by her sleazy boyfriend, so it was pretty tame, all things considered.
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    • In the episode "Reality Star Struck" there was a Mike Chilean, who hosted a show called Shark Pool, he's called a crazy billionaire. Now, look at The Shark Tank with Mark Cuban and say that name was original.
    • There's also an episode with a totally-not Miley Cyrus Former Child Star whose signature role consisted of concealing a secret identity with sunglasses, not a wig, see, totally different.
  • The CHIPS episode "Battle of the Bands" sees the boys going after a punk band who is antagonizing their new-wave rival in an upcoming rock-off. The new-wave band is called Snow Pink, as is their lead singer, a sexy rose-haired siren with a Joisey accent and plenty of attitude. Possibly lampshading the similarity when asked where her band’s name came from, she replies "The rock world’s already got Blondie."
  • The Cold Case episode "One Fall," set in the world of Professional Wrestling, has two main suspects who are thinly-veiled versions of Vince McMahon and Ric Flair.
  • The Columbo episode "Murder With Too Many Notes" features an award-winning film composer who's noted for his apprentices and his use of ghostwriters. Now have a look at what some people have to say about Hans Zimmer...
  • One episode of Dinosaurs featured Edward R. Hero, a pastiche of real-life journalist Edward R. Murrow, as a commentator in a political election between two horrible candidates. In the end, the voters get fed up with both candidates and elect Edward by a landslide.
  • Damages did this a couple of times due to its fondness for Ripped from the Headlines plots. In particular, Louis Tobin is Bernie Madoff and Channing McLaren is Julian Assange.
  • Practically the entire premise of the short lived FX series Dirt. Amongst some of the more notable ripoffs was a gold-digging blonde drug addict (Anna-Nicole Smith), an actor couple with a blended nickname (who bore resemblance to Jennifer Garner/Ben Affleck), and a cast of actors working on an insanely successful sitcom (the cast of Friends).
  • Doctor Who:
  • Euphoria: Obliterated. Episode 3 not only namedrops Louis Tomlinson and Harry Styles when Kat writes about Harry giving Louis a blowjob before a concert, but the story is then fully animated with anime character likenesses of them both.
  • Father Ted: Several one-episode characters are based on real Irish celebrities: BBC TV host Henry Sellars (based on Henry Kelly), sickly sweet balladeer Eoin McLove (Daniel O'Donnell), militant feminist anti-Catholic singer Niamh Connolly (Sinéad O'Connor) and the terrifying Bishop Brennan (Bishop Éamon Casey) — both bishops having a secret son.
  • Frasier: Dr. Nora, an unusually thin parody of Dr. Laura and the small controversy about her qualifications. Dr. Nora's advice mostly consisted of telling her callers that they're sinners who are going to hell, and Frasier eventually learns her doctorate is in P.E. The station keeps her on because her polarizing personality is attracting listeners, until an attempt at goodwill by Frasier drives her away.
  • The Good Wife had an episode where Miranda Cosgrove guest starred as an off-the-rails teen starlet, who was based on Miley Cyrus or Lindsay Lohan (or a combination of the two).
  • House of Cards (US): A few, but most notably in Season 3 — Balding, fairhaired Russian President Victor Petrov is definitely not Vladimir Putin. They even have real-life members of Pussy Riot chew out Not Putin in untranslated Russian in a episode.
  • iCarly:
    • "iFix a Popstar" with Ginger Fox, who is a rather obvious parody of Britney Spears.
    • "iCook" has Ricky Flame, a parody of Bobby Flay.
    • Terry Dingo is a parody of Walt Disney.
  • On Jessie, the Ross family is a clear parody of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's family. The Rosses have 3 adopted children, two of which are adopted from foreign countries and one biological one. All they need is biological twins.
  • An episode of the Japanese series Kamen Rider Wizard had a one-off gag involving two American pop stars who looked suspiciously like Lady Gaga. She's apparently very recognizable across the globe.
  • The Disney Channel show Kickin' It has Ricky Weaver, who's a very obvious parody of Bieber. He also probably counts as a Take That! to Justin Bieber, since he turns out to secretly be a jerk.
  • Las Vegas
    • In "Die Fast, Die Furious", Jean-Claude Van Damme plays himself filming a movie at the Montecito hotel, and gets killed in a stunt gone wrong. The episode ends with the disclaimer "No actual Jean-Claude Van Dammes were killed in the filming of this episode."
    • Gavin Brunson, the first in the Montecito's revolving door of owners, is basically a Race Lifted version of Howard Hughes.
  • Law & Order
    • District Attorney Adam Schiff (he of the end-of-episode one-liners) was loosely based on real-life Manhattan DA Robert Morgenthau. Later L&O DA Arthur Branch bears a strange resemblance to former Sen. Fred Thompson... waitaminute.
    • Given that "Ripped from the Headlines" has become Law and Order's raison d'etre over the years, this is another show with too many to list specifically, even if the "celebrities" are often defendants or victims in famous cases.
    • A few episodes of the spinoff Law & Order: Criminal Intent feature the reporter Faith Yancy, a thinly veiled version of Nancy Grace. The actual Nancy Grace appeared on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
    • Larry King has appeared on SVU and Criminal Intent. Talk show host "Barry Bishop" has appeared on the original show.
    • There was that one guy in SVU, an eccentric billionaire toymaker, whose behavior resembles that of Michael Jackson.
    • There was Jake Berlin, a "look but don't touch" pedophile that runs a website who seems to be based on real-life pedophile Jack McClellan.
    • Another SVU example: Oliver Gates, a defense attorney who tried to argue that his client was not responsible for committing a murder because he had been brainwashed into killing by a violent video game that resembled Grand Theft Auto. Quite reminiscent of former Florida attorney Jack Thompson.
    • There's recurring character Gov. Donald Shalvoy, who started off as a thinly veiled version of Elliot Spitzer.
    • Then Chevy Chase as an aging actor who goes on a drunken anti-Semitic tirade towards a female cop while being arrested. Then It Gets Worse...
    • In an episode based on the Pizzagate hoax, SVU encounters a scumbag internet conspiracy monger who cynically publishes Blatant Lies to make advertising revenue off gullible wackos. The character's name was Don Ruca, but might as well have been "Alec Bones".
    • In one episode, a rapist who impregnates his victim calls in a Congressman and former doctor to testify that a woman cannot get pregnant during rape. Depicted as a politically motivated pseudoscience-peddling buffoon, he was a thinly-veiled analogue for Todd Akin, even spouting Akin's infamous "legitimate rape" soundbite.
    • Lampshaded with an R&B singer accused of domestic abuse towards his girlfriend. Munch compares them.
    • The Villain of the Week in one episode of SVU was a news anchor who had maintained a decades-long campaign of sexual harassment against multiple female coworkers, combining elements of Bill O'Reilly and Roger Ailes.
    • Anna Nicole Smith inspired at least three Law and Order episodes.
      • Mariel Hemingway in "Remains of the Day" on the parent show.
      • Arija Bareikis in "Matrimony" on the parent show.
      • Kristy Swanson in "Bombshell" on Criminal Intent. (And, as a bonus, Peter Bogdanovich as a Hugh Hefner clone who had already appeared in an earlier, unrelated episode.)
      • Let's not forget that Smith herself is an imitation of Marilyn Monroe, making this a twofer. In "Bombshell", there's even a scene with Swanson performing a white-skirted Marilyn Maneuver. As Kirk Lazarus might say, Swanson is a chick playing a chick based on a chick inspired by a chick.
  • LazyTown villain Robbie Rotten is clearly based on Jim Carrey in some way, right down to his mannerisms.
  • Jason Alexander played a not-at-all-disguised-but-not-well-pulled-off Tony Kornheiser in Listen Up. Malcolm Jamal-Warner did a better job doing Michael Wilbon.
  • Madam Secretary's title character Elizabeth McCord has a number of similarities with Hillary Rodham Clinton (both middle-aged blonde professional women, serving as Secretary of State in a Democratic administration), though she comes off as somewhat more personable and populist. She also very clearly has a very strong relationship with her husband Henry, whereas Hillary's relationship with Bill Clinton is... questionable. Reconstruction, perhaps?
    • One episode featured a state visit from a brash, tough-talking Philippine president named Datu Andrade … which, as followers of current events at the time might have guessed, is a bit less than loosely based on the (since 2016) Real Life Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte. Naturally, Philippine government spokespersons filed a complaint, something a bit of a tradition in a country known to take very real offence at ill portrayals in foreign media.
  • The Magician: "The Illusion of Black Gold" features a reclusive oil billionaire named Victor Paradine who no one has seen in person in years. The character is very heavily based on Howard Hughes.
  • In the Magnum, P.I. episode "Round and Around", T.C. is listening to a radio talk show where a cheerful German-accented old lady advises a frustrated wife to watch football with her husband, totally nude.
  • In Mozart in the Jungle, the backstory of chief conductor Rodrigo bears striking resemblances to that of Gustavo Dudamel, chief conductor of the LA Philharmonic: they're both musical prodigies from Latin American countries who went through a strict pedagogical system, and have become famous in the US and Europe, and they're both trained violinists. Beyond that, it breaks down. Played for Laughs in the show: whereas many famous musicians have appeared in the show as themselves (notably Lang Lang, Emanuel Ax and Joshua Bell), when Rodrigo in the show had a spot as guest conductor for the LA Philharmonic, Dudamel played a cameo as a stage manager, who joked with Rodrigo about how their current conductor was rubbish.
  • Hayden Panettiere plays what appears to be a parody of Taylor Swift (complete with curls) in Nashville, although the lady herself says Taylor's "a little nicer." And Taylor doesn't have a drugged-out mother, a shoplifting charge, a shortlived marriage or a sex tape. She has, however, admitted to partly basing Juliette (her character) on Carrie Underwood - which eventually got the latter to say words to the effect of "I don't see it." Juliette's boyfriend/brief husband Tim Tebow - er, Sean Butler is a God-fearing footballer with questionable skills.
  • Necessary Roughness partially centers on temperamental showboat Terrence "T.K." King, a pro football wide receiver for the (fictional) New York Hawks. The similarities to temperamental showboat Terrell "T.O." Owens, a wide receiver best known for his time with the Philadelphia Eagles, are hard to ignore. Since the series is said to be based on a true story, this is probably by design. T.O. actually guest stars in the first season finale as T.K.'s biggest rival, providing ample Lampshade Hanging.
  • The Nightmare Years is a mini-series about US journalist William Shirer in Nazi Germany in the 1930's. At one point Shirer sees a woman setting up a movie camera in the Olympic stadium and asks if that's Leni Riefenstahl; he's told it's another female director — who happens to parallel Riefenstahl exactly, including her adulation of Hitler, rivalry with propaganda minister Goebbels, and presence during the massacre of Polish civilians at Końskie.
  • Odyssey 5. At one stage the Odyssey team consult an abrasive sci-fi writer who is clearly based on Harlan Ellison (who conceived the series). As they can't tell him the truth (that they've travelled back in time five years to avert the destruction of the Earth) the team pretends they're writing a science fiction novel. The sci-fi writer goes into detail on how cliched and scientifically implausible their 'novel' is.
  • For some reason, The BBC drama Oneby One, based directly and officially on the memoirs of the well-known zoo vet David Taylor, named its main character Donald Turner.
  • The Outer Limits (1995): In "Monster", the Serbian dictator Slob Krupchek, who is described as the "Hitler of the Balkans" due to his policy of ethnic cleansing resulting in the deaths of thousands, is one for Slobodan Milosevic. Krupchek's first name is presumably short for Slobodan.
  • Passions
    • An episode featured a character called Hanna Nicola Smythe, a female character who was clearly based on Anna Nicole Smith.
    • Grace Nancier, a transparent stand-in for Nancy Grace. Reportedly, Nancy Grace herself (a fan of the show) was approached to play the character, but didn't have the time to do so.
  • The USA Network miniseries Political Animals has several of these with politicians.
    • Elaine Barrish Hammond is a thinly-veiled Expy of Hillary Rodham Clinton and her husband former President Bud Hammond of Bill Clinton, with a dash of LBJ for good measure, while the family dynamic is based on popular perceptions of the Kennedy family. Bud is seen at one point having dinner with a certain bald, bespectacled adviser of his who bears a resemblance to James Carville.
    • Furthermore, The Atlantic has drawn clear parallels between reporter Susan Berg, a fierce critic of Elaine Barrish Hammond, and Maureen Dowd, who famously used her column in The New York Times to call Hillary out on not calling out Bill on his infidelity.
  • Power Rangers
  • In Quantico, Claire Haas, the corrupt, well-connected Vice-President, is so obviously based on Hillary Clinton that the showrunners began to fear that they had contributed to Clinton's defeat in the 2016 election.
  • RoboCop: The Series had a character named Umberto Ortega, who was basically a stand-in for Geraldo Rivera. The plot of the episode "Prime Suspect" features Bob and Bambi Taker, parody versions of the then-recently divorced Jim Bakker and Tammy Faye Messner, and revolves around RoboCop being framed for the murder of the former after the couple launch a crusade against Robo.
  • An episode of the Flemish children's series Rox featured a scene where the villainess tied up and gagged a flamboyant pop diva named "Lady Rock" in order to impersonate her.
  • It's pretty damn hard to believe that Elliot from Scrubs was not intentionally based on Sylvia Plath.
  • Andy Samberg's short TV movie 7 Days in Hell, which itself is a parody of the infamous 3-day Isner-Mahut Wimbledon match, is about a 7 day long tennis match. One player include Charles Poole (Kit Harington), a dim-witted English Mama's Boy who is the only British tennis player of note, parodying Andy Murray (the differences being Murray is Scottish and not as dumb). The other player is Aaron Williams (Andy Samberg), who is basically an over-the-top version of Andre Agassi.
  • On Shake It Up! in the episode "Age It Up", the 16-year-old pop sensation Justin Starr is an obvious Expy of Justin Bieber.
  • Sherlock has a tendency to do this with its villains. Media magnate and sadistic blackmailer Charles Augustus Magnussen is blatantly media magnate Rupert Murdoch and celebrity serial killer Culverton Smith is even more obviously celebrity serial rapist Jimmy Savile.
  • Shining Time Station: The mayor's opponent in "The Mayor Runs for Re-Election" is a parody of Richard Nixon.
    Mr. Conductor: I just wish I knew more about the mayor's opponent. He's a very mysterious figure.
    Stacy: I know. I've seen his picture, and he looks awfully familiar
  • In Shooter, Junior Bama, the Stupid Evil, overeager son of Corrupt Hick Red Bama who keeps trying to help his dad and usually ends up making things worse, seems to be a thinly-veiled expy of Donald Trump, Jr.
  • The billionaires on Silicon Valley are very similar to real life figures in the tech industry. Russ Hanneman's three commas motif and his story about finding out he'd made his first billion are from Mark Cuban; Peter Gregory's scorn for college and his investing in a company that can track phones are similar to Peter Thiel (and his involvement in Palantir); Gavin Belson's comparison of billionaires to Jews in Nazi Germany comes from a statement made by Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tom Perkins.
  • Sliders: In "A Current Affair", the U.S. President is Jefferson Williams, as in William Jefferson Clinton. Making it even more obvious, Williams, like Clinton, was first elected in 1992.
  • Norm MacDonald's title character in the short-lived A Minute with Stan Hooper is an obvious expy of Andy Rooney.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: the episode "The Drumhead" featured the sociopathic father-fixated narcissistic Admiral Nora Satie, who was based on either Nancy Reagan OR Margaret Thatcher, depending on which side of the Atlantic you live...
  • St. Elsewhere: In "Family Ties", "Family Feud" and "Family Affair", the Endicotts, a famous, wealthy, political family from Massachusetts who are considered American royalty, are basically the Kennedys with a different name. Gordon Endicott is a senator who is seeking his party's nomination for the 1988 presidential election. There is No Party Given but he is hinted to be a Democrat. However, the senator is assassinated, in the presence of his son Michael, in the St. Eligius chapel by a crazed man named Lennox who hates the Endicott family. His mother and the much loved family matriarch Augusta Endicott, who receives a quadruple bypass at the hospital, is based on Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy. Like the Kennedys, the Endicotts have suffered many tragedies. Gordon is the third of Augusta's children whom she has outlived as Richard died of pleurisy in 1936 and Franklin committed suicide in 1979. In "Family Ties", Gordon's son Douglas mentions that the family has a compound on Cape Cod.
  • London Tipton from The Suite Life of Zack and Cody has a passing resemblance to Paris Hilton, being an airheaded, vain, image-obsessed hotel heiress named after a European capital. However, there are obvious differences; being a kids' show, there is no mention of... well... you know. London is also presented as a much more sympathetic character than some more direct parodies of Paris, with her negative traits being more down to stupidity and being spoiled than being a Rich Bitch.
  • Supernatural
    • In "Criss Angel Is a Douche Bag", Criss Angel never shows up, but the show makes fun of him through a character named Jeb Dexter, an incredibly arrogant magician who bears an incredible resemblance to Criss Angel and does card tricks that are staged like fake demon possessions (which really upsets Dean). He dies horribly, of course. The show also makes fun of him, quietly, by naming the episode Criss Angel Is A Douche Bag
    • In season 6, there's a vampire named "Robert" and the teenage girl named "Kristen", as well as a series of totally-not-Twilight books that Sam and Dean rip the living bejeezus out of. The episode is (brilliantly) titled "Live Free or Twihard".
    • Supposedly, Ruby was a character that was written for Kristen Bell, but she denied the role, which is why the first Ruby looks VERY similar to her.
  • In the episode “The Bard” of the original The Twilight Zone (1959), a playwright encounters an actor who wears a tight T-shirt, slouches to the point where it seems he physically can’t hold his head up—and, to make sure we all get the point, the character refers to having appeared in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and A Streetcar Named Desire. To make it funnier, the Marlon Brando knockoff was played by a young actor named Burt Reynolds.
  • In the chapter "That Wrestling Show" of the Season 1 of That '70s Show there's a WWF show in the town where the protagonists live. The great star invited was Rocky Johnson, played by his son Dwayne Johnson. Also, the other wrestlers in ring (all of them uncredited) are Ken Shamrock, Jeff and Matt Hardy.
  • In the fourth season opener of The Unit, the team has to save President-Elect Benjamin Castille, who appears to be a Latino version of Obama. By this logic, Dick Cheney and Joe Biden are killed by terrorists.
  • Lady Persie from the 2010 revival of Upstairs Downstairs was very likely inspired by Unity Mitford.
  • Voyagers!: Mary Murphy, who appears in the pilot, is obviously a stand-in for Mary Pickford, given that she's the most famous actress of the silent era. She was also a close friend of Douglas Fairbanks, to whom Mary Pickford was married from 1920 to 1936. (Funnily enough, Mary Pickford was later mentioned in "Destiny's Choice".)
  • The West Wing
    • In the fourth season, Jed Bartlet is challenged for the presidency by Robert Ritchie, a conservative Republican and governor of Florida who bears a resemblance to parodical exaggerations of a certain President of the United States — populist tendencies, right-wing views and catchy slogans coupled with a tendency to garble his words and stick his foot in his mouth when speaking. The West Wing production team being somewhat on the political left, he was promptly trounced by the intellectual, shrewd Bartlet. This approaches Truth in Television — Bartlet is essentially an idealized Clinton, and Clinton did win handily in both of his races. Remove the sex scandals and add a Nobel prize, and this is wholly reasonable.
    • Also, the writers based late-season presidential candidate Matt Santos partially off of Barack Obama (combined with other sources, as Obama had never served in the military, unlike Santos) and Republican Candidate Arnie Vinick has been admitted to be a thinly-veiled version of John McCain. As the writers were explicit in pointing out during the real-world election, they were aiming more for the 2000 version of McCain than the 2008 one, however. Which makes a whole lot of sense considering the last episode aired in 2006.
    • Several other celebrities/politicians are given analogues in the West Wing universe; the list is probably too extensive to bother enumerating in detail. However, Josh Lyman more or less being Rahm Emanuel is worth mentioning.
  • Without a Trace featured a blonde heiress known for her partying and sex tape as the Victim of the Week. This was in 2005, when every TV show had a Paris Hilton ripoff.
  • During the second season of the 1990's newer version of WKRP in Cincinnati featured an appearance from an ultra-conservative radio personality named Lash Rambo, a thinly-veiled Expy of Rush Limbaugh.
  • The X-Files had an episode, "The Unnatural", about a power-hitting Negro League baseball catcher who played for the Grays, was compared to Babe Ruth, and was named Josh. Any similarities to Josh Gibson are not coincidental at all. Mulder even wears a replica of his real Homestead Grays jersey in the final scene.
  • Sam from You're the Worst is based on Tyler, The Creator.


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