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Nbc Bans Another Dennis Franz Ad

Dennis Franz, trendsetter? It’s true, but it’s a trend the “NYPD Blue” star could live without: the ditching of Dennis Franz’ pitches.

For the second time in a month, a commercial featuring Franz has been banned by at least one of the networks because his ad persona is too close to his “Blue” role.

Tuesday, NBC said it would not carry a new Diet Pepsi spot featuring Franz, although it will air on CBS and ABC (which carries “NYPD”).

“Our policy prohibits direct or indirect promotion of a program or events on a competing network,” an NBC spokeswoman said, explaining its decision.

The commercial, which began airing Tuesday night, is titled “Interrogation.” In it, Franz, wearing a fancy suit, goes to a warehouse to interview a man who is being held hostage.

NBC’s no-Franz ruling comes just weeks after it also passed, as did CBS, on a Cadillac spot starring the actor.

“The only network not airing the spot is NBC,” a Pepsi spokesman said. “First they wouldn’t run the Cadillac spot, now this. NBC is beginning to stand for No Balding Cops.

Networks refusing to air ads featuring stars from competing-network shows isn’t a new trend, although Franz, it seems, is becoming something of a lightning rod.

Recently, ABC passed on a series of Pepsi spots built around NBC’s “Unsolved Mysteries” host Robert Stack.

“Hey, we’re talking soft drinks, not brain surgery,” the spokesman said. “We’ll run our other spots instead.”