The TV Critics Assn. tour is officially over, meaning that I won't have to wait for my car at the Langham Huntington Hotel in Pasadena again for awhile, and thank God for that.

Thanks to fortuitous timing, the first post-Comic-Con press tour wasn't a complete news-free zone. In fact, we learned the following from the latest gathering:

– Every network except NBC feels entitled to take a few parting shots at NBC, and more than a few producers are determined to get their licks in as well.

– All network executives love Paula Abdul and think she's an interesting, fascinating and wonderful piece of talent, at least until they sort out what she'll be doing next. Once she lands on another network one suspects she'll be considerably less interesting to everybody.

– The out-of-town press really couldn't give a rat's ass about the skirmish involving the "time-shifting" of acceptance speeches during the Primetime Emmy Awards.

– Even if the press tour is spiraling toward irrelevance, reporters and critics still take umbrage when they feel they are disrespected by networks failing to dispatch top executives to the event, especially if there has been a management shift. (Translation: If this thing's still around in January, NBC should put Jeff Gaspin on the stage for questions.)

– The sessions might have been full of people barking questions, but the number of longtime critics who were absent this time around provided a nagging, constant and depressing reminder of the changes and cutbacks that have assailed the newspaper industry in general and critics in particular. Fortunately, old standbys like the Philadelphia Inquirer's Jonathan Storm were still there to call CBS' Nina Tassler "Nancy," so the tour wasn't entirely devoid of comic relief.

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