Good news for NYPD Blue's Dennis Franz. The Emmy-winning actor won't have to adjust to yet another new partner when his venerable ABC cop show kicks off its 10th season this fall — sidekick No. 4, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, says he'd have to be dragged off in handcuffs before he'd bolt the 15th Precinct. In fact, unlike the rest of the jaded TV community, the former child star is anxious for his two-month summer hiatus to end.
"I can't wait to go back to work because I enjoy myself so much," he tells TV Guide Online. "It's so satisfying because I get to go to work every day wanting to go to work. It's a lot easier for an actor to come on to a good show like NYPD Blue than it is to come on to some of the other [shows] that I've done."
Well, at least on Saved by the Bell, the 28-year-old dreamboat didn't have to drop trou — not that he minded his requisite Blue nude scene. Of course, being as athletic as he is (when he's not interrogating perps, he boxes and races motocross), he had, ahem, little to worry about.
"I definitely gained a little bit of muscle, not [specifically] for the nude scene but just because [working out] is the only thing [besides Blue] that I've been able to do," says the actor, who confesses that he was relieved that the PG-13 sequence came later in the season. "By then, I knew everybody on the set and I just didn't care. But [then] you think about 13 million people seeing your ass and that's kind of alarming. But I've mooned a lot of people in the past so [this] is no different."
Well, audiences are certainly enjoying the view. As Gosselaar reports, fans have gone on and on about his striptease till they're blue in the face. "The older generation is coming up to me and saying, 'Oh, thank you.' I don't know how to react to that. 'You're welcome?' It's quite different than being on [Saved by the Bell] and having people 10 years younger than you screaming for you. Now, it's the opposite. It's flattering. I'm glad it turned out good and it makes people happy.
"At a certain time, I also think people are going to get burned out seeing mine and her ass only," he adds, referring to onscreen lover Jacqueline Obradors, who plays new cop Rita Ortiz. "[The producers] can't let [Franz and Charlotte Ross] slide. I've told them they'd better prepare themselves."
For one, Obradors will certainly be relieved. "For women, I think it's a lot worse," says the leading man, who can be seen dodging tornadoes opposite Blue alum Sharon Lawrence in the TBS original movie Atomic Twister (Sunday, 8 pm/ET). "I played so many gags on Jackie trying to loosen her up. I was writing stuff on my ass like 'Ortiz was here.'"