Scoop: Winfrey Doesn’t Grill President in Holiday Show

By Courtney Hazlett
|  Thursday, Dec 10, 2009  |  Updated 6:54 PM PDT
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Oprah's White House Special: Softball Interview

AP

In this Dec. 3, 2009, photo released by the White House, President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, left, pose with Oprah Winfrey, right, in the Blue Room of the White House in Washington during a taping of a special, "Christmas at the White House," airing Sunday, Dec. 13, at 10:00 p.m. EST on ABC. (AP Photo/The White House, Pete Souza)

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If you tune in to Oprah Winfrey’s “Christmas at the White House” special Sunday night, you’ll get a look at the 27 trees and accompanying ornaments that decorate the White House for the holidays. What you won’t see is Winfrey grilling President Obama, although he does weigh in on his performance since becoming commander in chief.

“This was not about grilling the President, this was really about me wanting to come and experience Christmas at the White House,” Winfrey said. “So I wasn’t here to grill him, I was curious as to what he thought he had done, what kind of job he thought he had done and ask him for his grade. You’ll see what the grade is. The grade might surprise you.”

That’s not to say Winfrey didn’t pepper the Obamas with questions: she asked them both their favorite Christmas gifts they received as children.

The first lady answered, “It was a dollhouse and it was a metal dollhouse with plastic furniture ... I remember I really didn't know how to set up a house so I had all the furniture lined up along the walls as opposed to nestled around the fireplace, but I loved that little dollhouse.”

As for the president? He said his first first “big kid 10-speed bike” was special, but also recalled the gift he received at age 10 from his rarely-seen father, Barack Obama Sr.

“The one time I met my father he was visiting during Christmas and he gave me a basketball,” the president, a giant fan of the sport, told Winfrey. “I think there was some cause and effect there in terms of the degree to which I just ended up taking up the sport as a kid who didn't know his dad.”

Jon Gosselin a no-show in court
The legal showdown between TLC and Jon Gosselin continued in a Maryland courtroom Thursday, and even though Gosselin was a no-show, his bad behavior made an appearance.

According to Radaronline, TLC executive Edward Saban testified that Gosselin’s paid appearance at a Las Vegas pool party was a disaster for TLC, saying, "It's the picture we wanted to avoid. Him posing in front of a jacuzzi drinking with women hanging out in bikinis."

Gosselin’s lawyer also reportedly threatened Saban after TLC stopped Gosselin from doing an unauthorized interview.

“If, at a certain point, Jon had just come to us and asked for certain changes to be made in his agreement, we would have played ball,” said one TLC source. “But he didn’t. He tried to threaten his way out of a contract, and that’s just not going to work.”

The network wants the judge to stop Gosselin from making media appearances that it says violate his exclusive contract.

 

‘Princess’ will rule box office
Despite the positive reviews and Oscar buzz surrounding “Invictus,” the film about Nelson Mandela and the South African rugby team, it will have a tough time beating out “The Princess and the Frog” at the box office this weekend.

It’s a simple matter of numbers: “Invictus,” starring Matt Damon and Morgan Freeman, opens in 2,125 theaters, “Princess and the Frog” opens in 3,434 theaters. Couple that advantage with the fact that “Princess and the Frog” is a G-rated, animated, feel good film voiced by Oprah Winfrey and Terrence Howard, and it’s going to attract the family crowd in droves.

Courtney Hazlett delivers the Scoop Monday through Friday on msnbc.com. Follow Scoop on Twitter @courtneyatmsnbc

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