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September 25, 2017

HBO's John Oliver thinks Pa. news station's small change for massive gifted train set was 'well played'

A Pennsylvania news station's backyard train set has gained the attention of HBO's John Oliver once again on Sunday's episode of "Last Week Tonight."

Oliver, who gifted Scranton-based WNEP-TV a massive model to smooth over any hard feelings between the two parties, is thanking the station for donating it to a local museum and thinks a small change to the set that involves the "Last Week Tonight" host is nothing short of "well played."

The relationship between the two began in June when Oliver compiled some of the best viewer responses to WNEP-TV's small train set that appears in the background of many of its weather forecasts.

Residents have called into the local news station to express their love or hatred for the toy model, though some grew unhappy upon finding out that Oliver aired their responses to a national audience. Many expressed that they believed the host was making fun of them.

In an episode that aired earlier this month, Oliver explained that he wasn't making fun of residents at all and presented them with an "almost irresponsibly large" train set that included "every Scranton landmark that [the show] could find on Google."

The station later picked up the set from a warehouse in New Jersey and found that it was too big to fit in the backyard, leading it to donate the gift to Scranton's Electric City Trolley Museum.

The museum unveiled Oliver's present on Friday morning, with more than 5,000 people pouring in throughout the weekend to catch a glimpse of the famous set, according to WNEP

The "Last Week Tonight" host was impressed with WNEP-TV's quick thinking and expressed his gratitude during Sunday's show.

"This whole train adventure has genuinely been a lot of fun, and I would like to sincerely thank the people of Scranton, because it turns out they found the perfect way to say thank you and, also, to get back at me," Oliver said.

Oliver then showed a clip of a minor change that WNEP-TV made to the gift – replacing a tunnel opening that made it look like trains were running into Scranton native and NBA coach P.J. Carlesimo's face with Oliver's face instead. 

The slight alteration is just temporary, though, according to the station

"Well played, Scranton," Oliver said. "Well played."

Check out Oliver's latest update below: