List of fictional television shows

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Below is a list of television shows that have been made up in real television shows or other media. An early example of the show within a show format was The Jack Benny Program which had been popular on radio and took the same format to the new medium of television.[1]

30 Rock[edit]

30 Rock revolves around the fictional The Girlie Show (later renamed TGS with Tracy Jordan) on which most of the characters work. The fictional show was on the real American television network NBC, and the plot frequently referenced other fictional NBC programs, such as MILF Island, Gold Case, and Homonym. In later seasons, several episodes of 30 Rock were presented as though they were actually episodes of a fictional Bravo (U.S. TV channel) show, Queen of Jordan.

Densha Otoko[edit]

Getsumento Heiki Mina was originally a fictional anime show in Densha Otoko and later became a stand-alone anime.

Ed TV[edit]

  • Ed TV is the fictional show at the center of the movie of the same name.


Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids[edit]

Full House[edit]

In season 2, Danny becomes co-host of a local morning television show, Wake Up, San Francisco.


Within the world of Genshiken, Kujibiki Unbalance is a popular ongoing manga and anime adaptation, watched and discussed by the main characters.

The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy[edit]

  • Cast Iron Stomach - Parody of Iron Chef.
  • Love Problems
  • The X-treme Adventures of Brandon and Mallory - Anime series featuring characters that are eerily similar to Billy, Mandy, and Grim, plus a "Helper Monkey" named Dickie Galoot.
  • Dinobonoids
  • Atriocia's Late-Night Cinemonstrosities - Parody of Elvira, Mistress of the Dark.
  • The Grim Show - Supernatural talk show hosted by Grim. Replacement for Atriocia's Late-Night Cinemonstrosities.

Harry Hill's TV Burp[edit]

The K-Factor: So You Think You Can Knit? is a fictional TV show on Harry Hill's TV Burp.

Home Improvement[edit]

The Honeymooners[edit]


  • Deep Powder - TV drama that starred Joey Tribbiani. The show was described as Baywatch on skis. His character was killed off after he became too demanding on the set.

The Larry Sanders Show[edit]

The Larry Sanders Show is a late night talk show the characters of the show (of the same name) work on.

Life with Bonnie[edit]

  • Morning Chicago, a local morning talk show hosted by the main character, Bonnie Malloy.

Martian Successor Nadesico[edit]

Gekiganger III is a fictional anime show within the anime show.

The Mary Tyler Moore Show[edit]

  • Chuckles the Clown - Locally produced children's show mentioned in several episodes. His death, when he is trampled by an elephant while wearing a "Peter Peanut" costume, was the basis for the episode Chuckles Bites the Dust.
  • WJM-TV Evening News – Minneapolis news show on which many of the main characters worked[2]

The Muppet Show and Muppets Tonight[edit]

Murphy Brown[edit]

  • FYI - a news show Murphy works for[3]

Nancy Drew[edit]


  • Book Talk
  • Pearl's Kitchen
  • Pirate Pete's Cartoon Lagoon
  • Vermont Today


  • Hearts and Scalpels
  • Plastic Fantastic


Pleasantville is a black and white 1958 sitcom in the movie of the same name.

The Running Man[edit]

  • The Running Man The novel and the film describe alternate versions of a game show in which convicted criminals are chased by "hunters" from the television network and can win their freedom if they evade the hunters.

Saturday Night Live[edit]

Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island[edit]

  • Coast to Coast with Daphne Blake, talk show centering on mysteries.

Scooby-Doo! Stage Fright[edit]

  • Talent Star, singing competition series


  • Jerry, a parody of the show itself. A major plot point in Season 4 of Seinfeld.[4] Features versions of all the main characters of Seinfeld played by different actors. Jerry lasted for 1 episode.
  • Super Terrific Happy Hour, a Japanese television show that featured Jerry in the opening credits.

Shake It Up[edit]

  • Shake It Up Chicago
  • Really, You Call That Dancing?

The Simpsons[edit]

Sonny With a Chance[edit]

  • So Random! - a sketch comedy show that stars Sonny Munroe, Tawni Hart, Nico Harris, Grady Mitchell and Zora Lancaster (five of the six main characters), .
  • Mackenzie Falls - a teen drama that stars Chad Dylan Cooper (the sixth main character), and criticizes So Random!, saying they are not real actors (a parody of popular teen dramas, though its title is suggested by Dawson's Creek).

South Park[edit]

SpongeBob SquarePants[edit]

Stargate SG-1[edit]

  • Wormhole X-Treme! - sci-fi TV program based on leaked information from the Stargate program

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip[edit]

The series takes place behind the scenes of a live sketch comedy show (also called Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip or Studio 60) on the fictional television network NBS (National Broadcasting System), whose format is similar to that of NBC's Saturday Night Live.

That Mitchell and Webb Look[edit]

The Truman Show[edit]

Truman Burbank is the unsuspecting star of The Truman Show, a reality television program at the center of the film by the same name.

Twin Peaks[edit]

Invitation to Love was a soap opera watched by the residents of Twin Peaks; it often commented on the action of the plot.


Ugly Betty[edit]

V for Vendetta[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mary Ann Watson (2008), "TV on TV", Defining visions: television and the American experience in the 20th century, Blackwell, p. 140, ISBN 978-1-4051-7053-6 
  2. ^ a b c Semel, Paul (2006). "Shows Within Shows", Retrieved 2010-03-06.
  3. ^ Moore, Frazier (July 7, 1992). "Show-within-a-show: A product of the Make-Believe Network", Associated Press. Reprinted in Spartanburg Herald-Journal, p. C4. Convenience link.
  4. ^ a b c (February 1, 1999). "TV eating itself: small screen navel-gazing from The Simpsons to Seinfield", The Observer, p. 2.

External links[edit]