We've got another contribution from my fellow Crossoverists in Facebook......
From Ted Gregory:
A recent io9 column mentioned "Possum Dixon frontman Rob Zabrecky, whose various acting credits including playing an auctioneer on both 'The Mentalist' and 'Brothers & Sisters'." Sure enough, both roles are listed simply as "[The] Auctioneer".
I'd be the first to jump on board this example as proof that both shows are linked together by the character and so share the same TV dimension. Unfortunately, they are in two different worlds.
'The Mentalist' is straight-up Earth Prime-Time. In the years it's been on the air, it has yet to produce any kind of Zonk that disrupts the harmony of that fictional world. For instance, as the main characters work for the California Bureau of Investigation, centered in Sacramento, it must be tempting to bring a fictional Governor into the mix, perhaps even as a suspect. But so far, we've only had aides to "The Governor", with the Governor never being named.
On the other hand, one of the main characters in 'Brothers & Sisters' was Senator Robert McCallister, who eventually married Kitty Walker. The family is firmly rooted in Ojai, California, so McCallister had to be one of the Golden State's two Senators. In the Trueniverse, those positions are currently held by Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein.
If this had been the only Zonk in California's TV counterpart, I might have let it slide. We can't replace Senator Boxer, as she has had several TV appearances as herself in both dramas as well as sitcoms. But so far, Senator Feinstein has only appeared as herself on talk shows, documentaries, and the Sunday morning circuit. As far as Toobworld is concerned, she is expendable. I would have accepted Robert McCallister as the other senator.
But then they had a long-running sub-plot in which he decided to run for the governorship of the state. At the time, the Governor was the "Governator" - actor, weight-lifter, and philanderer Ahnuld Schwarzenegger. He might not have appeared as the Governor in any of the TV shows on the air, but because of his celebrity (and later notoriety), he was often mentioned in those shows - usually as a punchline.
However, for 'Brothers & Sisters', the Governor at that time was Eve Kern. Toobworld Central can be flexible with the occupancy of the various governors' mansions across the country because, let's face it - not many people are going to know who all of them are; they'll only be aware of their own governors and perhaps those of the neighboring states.
But when the governor is a mega-star celebrity like Schwarzenegger? There was no other option but to banish 'Brothers & Sisters' to an alternate TV dimension.
Still, the presence of Zabrecky as "The Auctioneer" serves as a good example of TV characters having doppelgangers in other dimensions. These two auctioneers are two versions of the same man, and both in the same state.
(Robert McCallister also has a cross-dimensional counterpart but their worlds are separated by a temporal delay. Whereas the McCallister of 'Brothers & Sisters' was an adult in the mid-naughts, he was still just a teenager during that same time in the dimension in which one would find 'Jack & Bobby'......)