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Based on a true story: TV shows that are far from fiction

Molly Cerreta Smith loves writing about all things mommy, parenting, food, health and travel. When she's not staring into the face of her Mac, she loves to hike, read, do messy crafts with her kids and compete in BBQ competitions with he...

Real-life inspiration

For some people, watching television is all about unwinding and letting one's brain relax for a little while. For others, watching television is about delving into someone else's reality. If you fall into the latter category, we invite you to check out our favorite series based on real life (and no, we're not talking reality TV!).

Band of Brothers

Real-life inspiration

Based on historian and biographer Stephen E. Ambrose's book of the same title, the 2001 10-part television series Band of Brothers is based on the true story of Easy Company, 506th Regiment, U.S. 101st Airborne Division. The series chronicles the service of Easy Company from their training in 1942 through their active duty in Europe, up until the end of World War II. The series follows the company as they parachute behind enemy lines in the early hours of D-day, help to liberate Carentan and a concentration camp, and enter Hitler's mountain retreat at Berchtesgaden.

Lethal Warriors: When the New Band of Brothers Came Home >>



Real-life inspiration

The popular Bones television show, which premiered in 2005, stemmed from producer Kathy Reich's Temperance Brennan novels — which are based upon the author's career as a forensic scientist and archaeologist. Her real experiences are given new life not only through her novels but also through each episode of the show, which stars David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel.


Necessary Roughness

Real-life inspiration

USA's series Necessary Roughness follows a female therapist who gets drafted to treat a fictional professional football team. The show is based on the life of Donna Dannenfelser, a Long Island woman who became a therapist. Her claim to fame is that she used psychotherapy to successfully help the New York Jets improve their performance on the field.

Necessary Roughness: What you need to know >>


The Kennedys

Real-life inspiration

The Kennedys miniseries starring Greg Kinnear and Katie Holmes stirred up lots of controversy long before it ever aired — and it almost never did. The eight-part, $25 million drama was dropped by History Channel, and then it was passed up by Showtime, FX and Starz before Albuquerque-based digital outlet ReelzChannel picked up the U.S. rights. It was criticized by many for being not as historically accurate as it should have been, but many critics praised it as well.

What's more American than Thanksgiving with The Kennedys? >>



Real-life inspiration

This ABC drama stars Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope, a character inspired by Judy Smith — a real-life crisis management expert who has become well revered among CEOs, celebrities and heads of state for helping them get out of trouble. Smith is the co-creator and an executive producer of the show, which first aired in 2012. In real life, Smith advised former president George H.W. Bush, infamous intern Monica Lewinski and NFL quarterback Michael Vick during their times of scandal.

More on TV

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Greatest reality TV shows
Which of these family TV shows from the past is your fave?

Photo credit: HBO, 20th Century Fox, USA Networks, ReelzChannel, ABC
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