Television People
John Oliver Greg Allen/AP

In this Nov. 10, 2015, file photo, John Oliver performs at the 9th Annual Stand Up for Heroes event in New York.

September 12, 2017

HBO's John Oliver gifts Pa. station 'greatest backyard train that local news has ever seen'

One local news station is making the necessary arrangements to accept quite the generous gift from HBO's "Last Week Tonight" host John Oliver.

Oliver looked to right some wrongs with WNEP-TV, based in Scranton, during a segment on Sunday's show after he targeted a toy train station featured in many of WNEP-TV's weather forecasts during an earlier episode back in June.


LATEST: Here's the plan for the massive train set HBO's John Oliver gifted a Pa. news station


The model's a source of controversy for the station – many viewers have called in to voice either their love or hatred for the set, which caught the attention of Oliver, who compiled some of the best responses to air nationally.

“I am so sick of hearing about these idiots worrying about the stupid train in the background already,” said one caller, while another said he'd rather “put a quarter stick in that train and blow it up.”

It turns out WNEP-TV viewers weren't too amused to be in the spotlight, though, including one caller who told the station that Scranton's residents aren't "clowns for [Oliver's] amusement," according to the "Last Week Tonight" segment.

Oliver was quick to issue an olive branch – he's not trying to make fun of Scranton at all, and he smoothed over any hard feelings with a present more elaborate than Michael Scott's Secret Santa swap on "The Office." 

"My only criticism of your train set is I think you deserve a better one," he said. "An almost irresponsibly large one, and that is why, and I hope you don't mind, we have used HBO's resources to make something extra special."

Oliver then unveiled "not the train set that Scranton needs, but it is the train set it deserves," complete with "every Scranton landmark that [the show] could find on Google."

WNEP-TV wrote Monday that it's on its way to pick up the gigantic set, which stands 18 feet wide and 16 feet tall, from the New York-based studio.

Check out Sunday's segment, which contains foul language, below: