As the old saying goes, the rich keep getting. . .more free stuff. Those ''swag suites'' hotel rooms packed with freebies, long a staple on the awards show and festival circuits have hit the annual network upfronts (May 16 to 19 in NYC). And why not? It's hard work trotting onto a stage to present a network's new fall programming.
Thanks to name brands in search of free press, celebs got payback big time! Jennifer Love Hewitt, Vanessa Marcil, and Alan Cumming hit the ''Broadcast Suite'' at Le Parker Meridien (cosponsored by W magazine and Think PR), where they scooped up Rock & Republic jeans, Converse sneakers, and assorted chichi accessories. Over at the Ritz-Carlton's ''Upfront Retreat'' (cosponsored by W and NBC), Kelsey Grammer snagged several $1,000 Michele watches. A few floors away, in Lucky and Cargo magazines' suite, Debra Messing, Lindsay Lohan (is she on a TV show?), and Patrick Dempsey descended upon the James jeans, Bose headphones, and Mario Badescu skin care products. Antonio Banderas coveted a Ted Baker shirt that Melanie Griffith thought was too loud. (She conceded if he promised to wear it with nothing else on.) Also loving Ted Baker: Desperate Housewife Felicity Huffman, who scored items from the revamped women's line. Her costar Nicollette Sheridan (ubiquitous at February's Oscar suites) piled on Lia Sophia jewelry. But Lohan bagged one of the biggest hauls, including a pair of Frye boots and more than $3,000 worth of sunglasses from Solstice (that's 13 pairs!).
''Does no one care that there are starving people in the world?'' Numb3rs' David Krumholtz joked, clutching his Lucky/Cargo stash. Still, he was prepared to enjoy his new Keds. ''Yesterday was my birthday, so this is my birthday present to me.''