The biannual Television Critics Association Press Tour isn’t just about sitting in panels, talking to actors and showrunners.
Don’t get me wrong. We do plenty of that for hours on end, attached to the keyboard, wielding recorders. But you read plenty of our coverage about that, so what else are we up to? I’m here to share a little more …
The summer tour kicked off Tuesday (July 27) with set visits. While my colleague Rick Porter traveled to Wisteria Lane for a “Desperate Housewives” visit and then on to “Parenthood,” I visited the Warner Bros. lot.
First up was the Warner Bros. animation presentation. We got to see two new Wile E. Coyote shorts (darn you, roadrunner!) and a fun sizzle reel featuring “Batman: Brave and the Bold,” “MAD,” “Scooby-Doo: Mystery Incorporated” (which is hilarious BTW) and the new “Looney Tunes.”
Following a Q&A session during which many cartoon voices were heard, we grabbed lunch outside, where we also had the opportunity to meet Scooby-Doo (with Mystery Machine), Daffy and Bugs Bunny. Interesting fact: Tuesday was Bugs’ 70th birthday.
After lunch, Warner Bros. treated us to an abbreviated studio lot tour in one of those extra long golf carts, where bottles of water and a “Fringe” hand-held fan was waiting for us. The beauty of the fan is that it’s a lenticular, so when it’s seen from different angles (or waved) then we see Olivia and Walter in the real world and as their alternate world counterparts (bangs! smiling!).
Our tour guide Tommy was incredibly knowledgeable, and so many of the stages and back lots were used decades ago, during the Golden Age of Hollywood films. He was able to point out all the different shows and films that used the various sets. As we drove along, we saw the streets of Stars Hollow (“Gilmore Girls”), houses from “Pretty Little Liars” and even the exterior of “True Blood’s” Merlotte’s.
Another highlight was the Warner Bros. car museum that includes the Batmobile, Harry Potter’s Ford Anglia (post-Womping Willow), Clint Eastwood’s Gran Turino, the General Lee, “Chuck’s” Nerd Herd car and Austin Powers’ Shaguar.
There’s always room for dessert, so Warner Bros. treated us to chocolate mousse and lemon bars while food stylist Nancy Iland demonstrated a strawberry flambe in the kitchen for “Undercovers,” NBC’s new drama about married caterers (Boris Kodjoe, Gugu Mbatha-Raw ) who get pulled back into the CIA spy game.
The majority of the day was spent in the Beverly Hilton ballroom covering CBS sessions, including “Hawaii Five-0” (with intel on James Marsters) and “$#*! My Dad Says,” with William Shatner in fine, cursing form.
We’re not allowed to take pictures of the panelists since they’re provided for us and are featured in our lovely Overheard at Press Tour gallery, but that doesn’t stop us from taking occasional pics of our swag or the party.
The CBS/Showtime/CW all-stars party held across the street from the Hilton was a tented indoor-outdoor event, as only Los Angeles can handle with its usually clear skies. Heat lamps and a tree decorated with Coca-Cola bottles that we could actually drink dotted the lawn.
We especially enjoyed passed hors d’oeurves of duck quesadillas, fish ‘n’ chips, crab cakes and tamarind chicken lollipops. There was also various food stations: gelato, paninis, mini pizzas, carving and our favorite — chicken and waffles.
Stay tuned for Day 3, in which there are no parties, but we predict some odd swag and at least a fun lunch.
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Photo credits: Zap2it/Hanh Nguyen