12 TV shows that were inspired by the lives of real famous figures

Freeform/John Medland“The Bold Type” is loosely based on the experiences of Cosmopolitan’s former editor-in-chief, Joanna Coles.

Sometimes TV series creators and producers draw inspiration from real lives and real people. In some cases, the series is directly inspired by the star, and in others, the series is very loosely inspired by them.

Here are 12 TV shows that were inspired by the lives of celebrities and other well-known public figures.


O.J. Simpson’s alleged double homicide is the focus of the first season of “American Crime Story.”

FXThe series was based on the 1995 murder trial.

Created by Ryan Murphy, “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story,” debuted on FX in 2016.

The series was based on the 1995 murder trial of former football player O.J. Simpson, who was accused and acquitted of murdering his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman.

In 2016 on “The Late Late Show with James Corden,” Khloe Kardashian said the creators did a great job with the show and she appreciated how they portrayed her father, but “not all the facts are accurate” and it was a bit sensationalised.


Season two of “American Crime Story” explores the murder of the Italian fashion designer, Gianni Versace.

FXÉdgar Ramírez played Gianni Versace.

The second instalment of Murphy’s anthology series, “Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story,” centered around the death of Italian fashion designer Gianni Versace at the hands of serial killer Andrew Cunanan.

But, Antonio D’Amico, Gianni Versace’s long-term boyfriend at the time of Versace’s death, told The Guardian that parts of the series were “ridiculous.”

“The picture of Ricky Martin holding the body in his arms is ridiculous,” he told the publication. “Maybe it’s the director’s poetic licence, but that is not how I reacted.”


“Feud: Bette and Joan” followed the real-life rivalry between actresses Joan Crawford and Bette Davis.

FXIt was based on a real-life rivalry.

The first season of another Murphy anthology series, which debuted in 2017, “Feud: Bette and Joan” was inspired by the real-life rivalry between actresses Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. The feud happened while they were co-stars in the movie “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane.”

Actresses Jessica Lange and Susan Sarandon play Crawford and Davis, respectively. E! fact-checked the docudrama and concluded that a lot of what’s portrayed in the movie was fairly accurate, even though some events were fictionalized or false.


Playboy founder Hugh Hefner got the docudrama treatment in “American Playboy: The Hugh Hefner Story.”

AmazonIt’s an Amazon original series.

The life, loves and career of Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner served as the basis for the 10-episode docudrama “American Playboy: The Hugh Hefner Story.”

Although the accuracy of the film hasn’t been widely commented on, Spin pointed out that the docudrama was produced by Alta Loma Entertainment, which is owned by Playboy Enterprises and was founded by Hugh Hefner himself.


“Houdini” attempted to psychoanalyze legendary magician Harry Houdini.

A&E TelevisionIt was a TV-miniseries.

“Houdini” was a two-night scripted miniseries that aired on the History channel in 2014. With Adrian Brody in the lead role as legendary magician Harry Houdini, the show examined the psychological motivations of the man.

But, according to Wild About Harry, the “Official Houdini Website,” many moments depicted in this miniseries aren’t accurate. According to the site, one of the biggest issues in the series is that Houdini is depicted as a spy, even though he wasn’t a spy in real life.


Actor Mark Wahlberg’s rise to fame inspired “Entourage.”

HBOAdrian Grenier plays a fictional version of Mark Wahlberg.

The HBO series “Entourage” was based on the experiences of actor Mark Wahlberg becoming a major Hollywood star. Running from 2004 to 2011, the show featured Adrian Grenier as Wahlberg’s fictional avatar.

As Rolling Stone reported, Wahlberg “will never own up to which bits are real.”


“Celia” chronicled the struggles of singer and salsa queen Celia Cruz.

FoxTelecolombiaShe’s a Latin music legend.

The struggles of singer and salsa queen Celia Cruz in 1950s Cuba served as the inspiration for the Telemundo telenovela “Celia,” which premiered in 2015.

But, according to El Diario, Celia Cruz’s nephew called the telenovela a “fictionalized account made in bad taste.” He said his family was not portrayed accurately.


“Girlboss” was loosely based on the life of Nasty Gal founder Sophia Amoruso.

NetflixThe series got canceled after one season.

The Netflix original comedy “Girlboss” was loosely inspired by the struggles and entrepreneurial ambitions of Nasty Gal founder Sophia Amoruso.

Amoruso herself was an executive producer for the series. And, according to Racked, each episode begins with the following disclaimer: “What follows is a loose retelling of true events… Real loose.”


“El Secreto de Selena” examines the life and death of Mexican singer Selena Quintanilla.

TNTThe series focuses on Selena Quintanilla.

“El Secreto de Selena,” a new series on TNT that debuted September 23, explores the life and tragic death of Mexican superstar Selena Quintanilla.

Quintanilla’s family has been critical of the series in the past and the book on which it is based.

A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Selena Quintanilla’s family was consulted on the series but has been updated to reflect that they were not involved in the project.


The life of Queen Elizabeth II takes center stage in “The Crown.”

Netflix US & Canada/YoutubeThe series is a Netflix original.

Viewers get a fictionalized look at the dramatic personal and political lives of Queen Elizabeth II in Netflix’s hit series“The Crown.” The lavish period drama premiered in 2016 and has aired two seasons thus far.

Although many have praised it for its accuracy, it does fictionalize some things.

Read More: 10 things you probably never knew about ‘The Crown’


Comedian Chris Rock’s childhood inspired “Everybody Hates Chris.”

The CWChris Rock narrates the show.

“Everybody Hates Chris,” a sitcom that aired on UPN and The CW from 2005 to 2009, was inspired by comedian Chris Rock’s childhood in 1980s Brooklyn.

But, it’s not 100% accurate. For Rock, it comes down to comedy.

“When I get out there, it doesn’t even really matter that it happened to me,” Rock said at a premiere, according to The Chicago Tribune. “It matters that it’s funny.”

Rock is also featured as a narrator on the show.


“The Bold Type” was loosely inspired by Joanna Coles’ time as Cosmopolitan editor-in-chief.

FreeformJoanna Coles is an executive producer on the series.

While there is not a character directly based off of her, Joanna Coles’ run as editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan served as loose inspiration for the Freeform series “The Bold Type,” about three rising stars in the world of publishing.

“It’s based on 30 years of reminiscences and talking to my friends,” Coles told Bustle.

The show debuted in 2017 and wrapped its second season this year.

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