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Entertainment news for April 18, 1997

Dennis Franz and his Pepsi commercial made headlines this week

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You got the wrong one, baby. That’s NBC’s response to a new Diet Pepsi commercial featuring ABC’s NYPD Blue star Dennis Franz. The network has rejected a spot featuring Franz loosely riffing on his TV alter ego, Detective Sipowicz. It’s not the first time a Blue-style ad got the ax. Last month, both CBS and NBC refused to air a spot Franz did for Cadillac for the same reason. ”From our perspective [the Pepsi commercial] was promoting one of our competitors’ top 10 programs,” explains NBC VP of advertising standards Rick Gitter. It’s no secret that Franz has made a career out of playing tough-guy cops. A spokeswoman for the actor says the networks ”are all getting crazy and skittish. Give viewers a little credit for knowing he’s not doing his character.” A Pepsi spokesman says the company has no plans to file a formal complaint (fans will see the spot on ABC, CBS, and Fox), ”but we are perplexed.” Bet Ray Charles never had these problems.