Press Tour Diary Day 4: 'Top Chef,' 'Biggest Loser' and swag for days

tca-nbc-store.jpgNBC wants to either kill the Television Critics Association with kindness, fatten us up or get us drunk -- or all three. We're not sure yet.

Day 4 featuring NBC and its sister cable networks is a long slog with more than a dozen shows featured in some way. It's so long that there's not just one, but two show-themed breaks, and a few of the panels are shortened to 20 minutes versus the usual half hour. (If you like, read our real NBC press tour coverage.)

But can swag and full bellies make up for incipient carpel tunnel and stave off wifi-induced harakiri?

By 10 a.m., I've been gifted four times:

tca-nbc-swag.jpgClockwise from upper left:

  • "Beer Makes My Clothes Fall Off" t-shirt - A reference to the new sitcom "Outsourced." I got it as part of NBC's "Fan It" program.
  • "Covert Affairs" swag bag - The usual cap and T-shirt, but chocolate? Love the binoculars and case. Got this for attending breakfast and talking to Piper Perabo.
  • NBC store swag - Is this the leftover stuff they couldn't sell at the store? Team Coco wouldn't be pleased with the "Tonight Show With Jay Leno" cap. Jimmy Fallon t-shirt and "Royal Pains" water bottle are sort of incongruous additions.
  • NBC cable swag - "Hair Battle Spectacular" (Oxygen) hair spray, "Top Chef: Just Desserts" (Bravo) screener and Godiva Chocolate, "Ghost Hunters" screener.
Whoa wait, that's not just any old "Ghost Hunters" screener. The packaging encubes itself!

tca-ghosthunters.jpgSix hours after the day starts (and 30 minutes after lunch) we get our promised "Biggest Loser" break. What? Make sedentary TV critics exercise? Well, almost. Here's one of those whey protein smoothies.

tca-smoothie.jpg
We also watch a lady unselfconsciously excercise in front of us using the "Biggest Loser" XBox 360 game. It'll also be available on Wii.

tca-biggest-loser-game.jpgOkay, I can't be a total slacker. I climb aboard the StreetStrider (like an elliptical machine for the outdoors) and burn off approximately 2 calories. Woo hoo! Now I'm ready for the "Top Chef: Just Desserts" break.

tca-biggest-loser-strider.jpgFast forward 20 minutes later ... I can hear Gene Wilder sing "Pure Imagination" right now. No chocolate waterfall/river, but there's a fountain. And then this candy monstrosity dotting the tables.

tca-just-desserts-intro.jpgFour of the "Top Chef: Just Desserts" contestants are kind enough to make sweets for us and even share their recipes with us. Apologies for forgetting the chef'testants names. I'm a tad distracted! The incomparable Hubert Keller is here!

Dessert 1: Lemon meringue pie in a glass with disco blueberries

My favorite but probably only because I love tart stuff with lots of texture. I admit I'm a little wowed by the massive dragees (aka "disco blueberries") that have edible glitter.

tca-desserts-01-blueberry.jpg Dessert 2: Margarita truffles

Two words: Real tequila

tca-desserts-02-margarita.jpg Dessert 3: Peach sorbet float with ginger-lime soda

Ginger AND lime? Two of my favorite flavors. Now what about some lychee?

tca-desserts-03.jpg Dessert 4: Lavender pavlovas with lychee, raspberry & crystallized oganic rose petals

Okay, I totally asked for that right? There's a lot going on here, and the pavlova is light. The lavender was surprisingly not as strong as I'd expected.

tca-desserts-04.jpgThe NBC party is held on the roof of the parking garage (which explains the dearth of parking spots earlier in the day), and we're pretty impressed with the central structure, a huge fountain with the logos for NBC and its sister networks dotting it.

Naturally, I sniff out the fried chicken (three helpings of it) and am in batter bliss. The mac 'n' cheese and rock shrimp aren't bad either. Others are more excited about the sundae bar and take home candy station, but after the "Top Chef: Just Desserts" break, I'm all sweeted out.


tca-nbc-party.jpgRead previous Press Tour Diary entries: Day 3: Showtime and The  CW, Day 2 and Day 1: CBS and Warner Bros. set visit

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Photo credits: Zap2it/ Hanh Nguyen