Savant first gained notice for playing a younger version of Mac McKenzie (played by Kojak alumnus Kevin Dobson) on the CBS night time soap opera Knots Landing. He was paired with future Desperate Housewives co-star Nicollette Sheridan, who played a younger version of the Anne Matheson character portrayed by Michelle Phillips. In the 1980s, he appeared in such films as Masquerade starring Rob Lowe, Teen Wolf with Michael J. Fox, and Trick or Treat with Marc Price and Ozzy Osbourne. Additionally, he was the central character in an episode of The Outer Limits "The Hunt." From 1992 to 1997, Savant starred as Matt Fielding on Melrose Place, a role that was notable for being one of the first mainstream openly gay characters on television. However, his role was censored greatly by the network - notably a kiss between Matt and guest star Ty Miller during the season two finale was edited out at the last minute by FOX. Savant left the series after five seasons and, a year later, his character was killed off-screen in a car crash.
After this, Savant guest starred on series such as Profiler, Harsh Realm, Firefly, JAG, NCIS, Nip/Tuck, NYPD Blue, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, and a four-episode arc on 24. He also appeared as Sgt. O'Neal in the 1998 movie Godzilla. In 2008, Savant starred in the television movie What Color Is Love? He played a lawyer named Peter Marcheson helping a girl, Nicole Alpern (Jennifer Finagan), win back her son in a custody battle. Savant played Tom Scavo on ABC's Desperate Housewives from 2004 to 2012. In the first season (2004–05), Tom was a recurring character, credited as a guest-star in the episodes where he appeared. Married to Lynette Scavo (Felicity Huffman), he was out of town regularly on business. Viewer response to Savant and his character led the producers to contract him as a series regular from season two onwards, and Tom and Lynette were portrayed as the most stable couple on the series. In May 1998, he married his Melrose Place co-star Laura Leighton. They have two children together: Jack (born October 10, 2000) and Lucy (born June 9, 2005). Savant also has two children from a previous marriage whom Leighton helped raise, Arianna (born January 17, 1992) and Madeline (born July 20, 1993).