Step by Step

"Step by Step" is also the name of a 1990 hit single by New Kids on the Block.

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Step by Step is a television sitcom which was aired on ABC from September 20, 1991 to 1997 and CBS from 1997 to 1998. The show stars Patrick Duffy of Dallas, Suzanne Somers of Three's Company, and Staci Keanan of My Two Dads.

The premise of the show, which is set in the factual city of Port Washington, Wisconsin, is about rebuilding one's life after things have fallen apart one step at a time. Frank Lambert, a divorced contractor who had custody of his three children, impulsively marries attractive Carol Lambert, a widowed beautician who had three children of her own. Both of them residents of Port Washington, the two met while vacationing separately in Jamaica. Their children, needless to say, were surprised and angered when they learned of the marriage.

Carol's children were 16-year-old daughter Dana, a pretty blonde who was smart but tried to be perfect; 14-year-old Karen, an aspiring model who was very vain; and Mark, an 11-year-old nerd who was into computers. Frank, meanwhile, was the father of 15-year-old John Thomas (aka J.T.), a slacker; Alicia (who always went by Al), an 11-year-old tomboyish all-American girl who became very attractive -- perhaps even more so than her stepsisters -- as she approached adulthood; and 7-year-old Brendan, a shy, carefree youngster. Carol took Frank's last name, though her children kept the Foster surname.

Stories depicted typical situations of a new family trying to get to know each other and become friends. That was often easier said than done, especially in the case of J.T. and Dana who could barely stand each other. In many ways, however, many of the situations mirrored that of The Brady Bunch.

The title of the show has a double meaning. One meaning deals with main idea of the show, which is getting married again after a divorce and putting your life back together. The other meaning is that every member of the family is step to half of the rest of the family, such as step brother, step mother, step sister, step father, step daughter, and step son.

The show's biggest change came in 1995, when Carol announced she was pregnant. In the 1994-1995 season finale, she gave birth to Lilly (Emily Mae Young), and was the only one to take both the Foster and Lambert surnames.

The show lasted for seven seasons and the main cast changed as the storyline progressed. Frank's nephew, Cody (whom J.T. idolized and Dana liked even less than J.T.) left the family in 1996 to travel the world (series star Sasha Mitchell, whose character became a major character during the second season, was forced out following allegations of domestic abuse). In 1997, J.T.'s friend Rich Halke (Jason Marsden) moved in with the family after becoming Dana's boyfriend; also during that time, Al took a serious interest in acting.

Along with Family Matters, "Step by Step" moved to CBS in the fall of 1997, as that network attempted to build its own Friday night lineup of family-friendly situation comedies. The ratings, which had been declining for several seasons, continued to fall and the show ended its run in July 1998. There was no official series finale (though the last show was about Frank and Carol considering selling the house).



  • The Bakers (Carol's sister and mother) from the first season were written out because of a focus groups findings about the audience interest in those two characters.
  • Cody, played by Sasha Mitchell, was written out of the show because Disney (owners of ABC) wanted to distance themselves from the arrest of Mitchell on domestic violence charges by his wife.
  • As the seasons progressed, the theme song becomes shorter. By the sixth season, the theme song was completely scrapped. However, when the show was moved to CBS for its final season the opening theme song was back with new scenes for the opening credits.

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