There was a sitcom in 1999 or so called “It’s Like, You Know…” about a group of friends living in L.A. and Jennifer Grey actually starred as a sitcom version of herself.
The main character on Bones, Temperance Brennan, was (somewhat loosely) based on Kathy Reichs, a forensic anthropologist and novelist.
The real life Kathy Reichs writes books starring Temperance Brennan. The Temperance Brennan in Bones writes books starring Kathy Reichs.
Matt LeBlanc played his character starring on the soap opera “Days of Our Lives” while on “Friends”, and some of the actors from the soap played themselves in the show within a show.
Various of the folks portrayed in THE ASTRONAUT WIVES CLUB were still alive when that show came out. (Heck, some of them are still alive now.)
Even more so, The Windsors
25 Posts and no one came up with Saturday Night Live? Or The Simpsons?
I mentioned SNL in post #14 above.
Legends of Tomorrow featured a college-age Barack Obama attacked by a telepathic gorilla; this was the same episode that John Noble guest-starred in, playing John Noble. There was also an episode where the Legion of Doom convinced George Lucas to give up filmmaking.
My World And Welcome To It was based on the life of James Thurber (though not alive at the time of the show), though the character was not named as such.
Or J. Peterman
Or maybe even John Kennedy Jr?
Quantum Leap had various “kisses with history” where historical figures were portrayed, some which were living when the show was aired. They included Woody Allen, Chubby Checker, Michael Jackson, Sylvester Stallone, Stephen King (whose character was in most of the episode), and Dr. Ruth Westheimer (who appeared in the show, too).
Titus was a fictionalized version of Christopher Titus’s life, including his father and brother. His real father refused to grant the rights to use him as a character until the network offered to give him a new truck (which was exactly like the way he was portrayed in the show).
The Australian sitcom The Family Law is based on Benjamin Law’s account of his childhood and growing up.
The TV show Brooklyn Bridge (1991-93) was pretty strongly based on the childhood of its creator and exec producer, Gary David Goldberg.
I feel this is the best actual answer, as pretty much everything else is either something where the person writing/starring in the show plays the main character or is using the fictional analog for comedic effect.
Baa Baa Black Sheep was based on Greg Boyington autobiography and despite being both technical advisor and having a cameo on the show once, he later stated he really didn’t like the show because he felt it drifted far too much from his actual real life experiences.
Adam West did it on Family Guy for many years.
Um, Jerry is based on Jerry. George is based on Larry David. Kramer is based on David’s friend Kramer. Elaine is sort of based on Carol Leifer.
MASH is partly based on the experiences of one of the book’s co-authors as a MASH surgeon in Korea. He was in the 8055th vs. the 4077th. He had a relative named Benjamin Pierce, etc.
How you going to mention Seinfeld and not think of attorney Jackie Childs? Wasn’t he based on a real life attorney in a famous trial at the time?*
*For all you youngsters, that bit of sarcasm brought to you by the law firm of Johnnie Cochran, getting murderers found “not guilty” since 1995.
There you go!