O said no to Obama

ASSOCIATED PRESS Oprah turned down President Obama's confab invite this summer.
ASSOCIATED PRESS Oprah turned down President Obama's confab invite this summer.
Posted: October 22, 2013

REPAIRING RELATIONS with Iran may not be President Obama's biggest diplomatic challenge. He and Oprah Winfrey apparently have some fence-mending to do.

According to the New York Post's Page Six, Oprah was among the mega-celebs (like Jennifer Hudson, Amy Poehler and Alicia Keys) invited to attend a summertime powwow to prep the boldfacers for a pro-Obamacare PR campaign.

"All of Oprah's top people thought she would go, because when the president invites you to the White House, most people automatically say yes," one of Oprah's closest advisers told the Post. "But Oprah said she didn't have the time or inclination to go. It wasn't like she had to think it over. It was an immediate, flat-out, unequivocal no."

Instead, Oprah sent to the confab what the Post describes as a "a low-level rep from one of her talent agencies," which the White House considered an "insult."

According to Page Six, Oprah's inaction wasn't the result of philosophical differences with the president's health-care agenda. She's unhappy over how she's been treated by all the president's men and women.

It could be argued that no A-lister did more to get Obama elected in 2008 than Oprah. In return, suggests the Post, she expected major Obama access for her OWN cable channel - access that never materialized.

"Oprah intended to make her unique White House access a part of her new network," a source close to Winfrey told Page Six. "There were big plans, and a team was put together to come up with proposals that would have been mutually beneficial.

"But none of that ever happened. Oprah sent notes and a rep to talk to [senior White House operative] Valerie Jarrett, but nothing came of it."

Because hell hath no fury like an Oprah scorned, the Obamas have, a Page Six source said, been banned from coverage in O, The Oprah Magazine.

Carol honored

Kudos to TV genius Carol Burnett, who last night received the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor during a ceremony at Washington's Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Julie Andrews, Tony Bennett, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler were among those scheduled to pay tribute to the Los Angeles native, considered by many to be the most successful and beloved female TV variety-show star of all time, despite the opinion of a CBS-TV exec who, when "The Carol Burnett Show" debuted in 1967, told Burnett the variety format was "a man's game."

The series - featuring supporting players Lyle Waggoner, Harvey Korman, Tim Conway and Vicki Lawrence - ran for 11 years and averaged 30 million viewers a week (about three times the size of a "successful" show's average audience today).

Look for the festivities to be broadcast Nov. 24 on PBS.

Carroll also honored

Speaking of tributes to female TV pioneers, Diahann Carroll, the first African-American woman to star in a prime-time series ("Julia," 1968), was feted Saturday at a star-studded Hollywood dinner dubbed "House of Flowers."

Beverly Johnson, Angela Bassett, Regina King and Anika Noni Rose were among those paying homage to Carroll and fellow honoree Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the first African-American president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. (That's the Oscar-awarding group, to you civilians.)

"I certainly don't feel like an icon," the still-glamorous, 78-year-old actress, singer and Golden Globe-winner said in a predinner interview. "I've had long stretches of unemployment. This is not an easy game."

Carroll, who made her Broadway debut in 1954 as the star of the Truman Capote-scripted "House of Flowers" (hence the event's moniker), is set to return next April - after a 30-year absence - as Denzel Washington's mother in a revival of Lorraine Hansberry's classic, "A Raisin in the Sun."

Real-estate news

The burdens of celeb-hood have caught up with erstwhile boy-bander Kevin Jonas. He and his bride, Danielle, have put their North Jersey manse on the market because of privacy concerns.

TMZ has learned that the couple's house, prominently featured in the reality-TV series "Married to Jonas," is too "exposed" for their tastes, especially now that Danielle is with child.

The house they paid $1.19 million for in 2011 is selling for $2.2 mil. If they get their asking price, there's no question the couple's next reality-TV foray should be on "Flip This House."

- Daily News wire services

contributed to this report


Howard Gensler has the day off.

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