Style & Substance

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Style & Substance
Created byPeter Tolan
Directed byJay Sandrich
Iris Dugow
Brian K. Roberts
Peter Tolan
StarringJean Smart
Nancy McKeon
Heath Hyche
Linda Kash
Joseph Maher
Alan Autry
Composer(s)Brad Hatfield
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes13 (1 unaired)
Executive producer(s)Peter Tolan
Camera setupMulti-camera
Running time30 minutes
Production company(s)The Cloudland Company
Touchstone Television
Original networkCBS
Original releaseJanuary 5 – September 2, 1998

Style & Substance is an American sitcom starring Jean Smart and Nancy McKeon that aired on CBS from January 5 to September 2, 1998.


Jean Smart is Chelsea Stevens, a Martha Stewart-like star of a how-to home show, and Nancy McKeon as her producer, Jane Sokol, a small-town girl new to New York City. Chelsea Stevens was an expert cook, decorator, and party planner who knew much more about thread-count than she did relationships. She was well-meaning at times, but her narcissism usually got in the way of actually understanding anyone else's problems.

Jean Smart's official website describes Stevens as a "neurotic control freak" and a "one-woman cooking, decorating, and entertaining machine who thinks every crisis can be solved by a decorative centerpiece".

It was rumored that Martha Stewart had complained to CBS about the similarities between her and the Chelsea Stevens character, even though on more than one episode Chelsea was referred to as Stewart's rival. Whether Stewart's complaint was true or not, the series was cancelled after five episodes were aired, and the remaining episodes were shown during the summer months, with one episode remaining unaired.[1]

CBS tried another show similar in content in 1998, The Simple Life starring Judith Light as a lifestyle expert, which did not fare any better.



No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
1"Pilot: Style & Substance"Jay SandrichPeter TolanJanuary 5, 1998 (1998-01-05)
Jane Sokol is sent to New York to manage Chelsea Stevens' magazine and TV show after it is bought by the Ferber Corporation, but she's totally thrown by her dealings with Chelsea, who goes through her purse and meddles in her relationship with her ex-fiance (Peter Krause).
2"A Trip to Chelseatown"Jay SandrichRuss WoodyJanuary 12, 1998 (1998-01-12)
When Chelsea decides to redecorate Jane's apartment for a magazine makeover, she convinces a reluctant Jane to stay with her during the renovation; Jane discovers how eccentric Chelsea really is when she reveals her biggest secret – Chelseatown, a miniature town she designed in her attic.
3"The Boss and Other Disasters"Jay SandrichPeter TolanJanuary 19, 1998 (1998-01-19)
Jane wants to make a good impression on her visiting boss, but she is horrified by the personality clash between Chelsea and the condescending Mr. Ferber (John O'Hurley) who has become hung up on Chelsea after a one-night stand.
4"A Recipe for Disaster"Jay SandrichMike Chessler & Chris AlberghiniJanuary 26, 1998 (1998-01-26)
Jane surprises Chelsea by inviting her childhood idol, world famous gourmet Gloria Utley (Jean Stapleton), to appear alongside her on Live with Regis & Kathie Lee – unaware that Gloria is now a burned-out boozer.
5"Chelsea Gets an Opinion"Iris DugowDonald BeckFebruary 2, 1998 (1998-02-02)
After being labeled frivolous and empty-headed in a magazine article, Chelsea jumps at the chance to boost her public image by participating in a Politically Incorrect-style talk show to discuss current events in the Middle East.
6"Terry, We Hardly Knew Ye"Jay SandrichGary JanettiJuly 22, 1998 (1998-07-22)
No longer able to deal with the incompetence of her assistant Terry, Chelsea asks Jane to fire him – which winds up being easier said than done; meanwhile Trudy and Mr. John fawn over Terry's replacement, Matthew (Robert Gant).
7"Office Management for Beginners"Jay SandrichGary JanettiJuly 29, 1998 (1998-07-29)
Chelsea incites an office rivalry between Jane and her arrogant lawyer Bobby (Vyto Ruginis) in an effort to cut costs so she can buy an expensive super-equipped van; When Jane cuts Bobby's salary to provide the money for the vehicle, Bobby retaliates by playing a series of practical jokes on her.
8"The Plate"Brian K. RobertsSusan BeaversAugust 5, 1998 (1998-08-05)
Chelsea becomes consumed with getting her hands on Jane's valuable Chinese dinner plate, but when Jane refuses to part with it for sentimental reasons, Chelsea uses an office mix-up to get her hands on it; meanwhile, Trudy dates a guy who seems too good to be true.
9"Chelsea's First Date"Jay SandrichDonald BeckAugust 12, 1998 (1998-08-12)
Jane convinces Chelsea to accept a dinner invitation from an old friend, Jeff (Michael Nouri) – her first date since her divorce – but is shocked when Chelsea announces her sudden engagement to the man.
10"No Soap, Romeo"Jay SandrichDaphne PollonAugust 19, 1998 (1998-08-19)
Jane begins dating charming soap opera star Dax Chandler (Larry Poindexter), ignoring Chelsea's warnings that he's too vain and self-absorbed; meanwhile, Terry is bullied by a creepy delivery man and Chelsea finds herself addicted to soap operas.
11"Chelsea's Ex"Jay SandrichIan PraiserAugust 26, 1998 (1998-08-26)
Chelsea thinks her ex-husband Grant (Doug Sheehan) wants her back when she and Jane run into him at a charity dinner with his latest girlfriend – who is Chelsea's spitting image; meanwhile, Mr. John is forced by his lover to tell his aged parents that he's gay.
12"I Went to a Garden Party"Jay SandrichChris Alberghini & Mike ChesslerSeptember 2, 1998 (1998-09-02)
In an effort to win recognition as a humanitarian, Chelsea agrees to host a garden party for a charitable foundation in the fight against substance abuse; unfortunately, she buys fresh produce from a roadside vendor and mistakenly serves magic mushrooms to her guests.
13"Do Not Go Squealing Into That Good Night"Peter TolanDaphne PollonUNAIRED
Chelsea is blamed for killing the pet pig of her obnoxious neighbor Mrs. Oliver, which in fact was accidentally run over by the last person anyone would suspect: Jane.


  1. ^ TV Guide. "Style & Substance Cast and Details". TV Guide. Retrieved 2016-04-23.

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