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Video: Scoop: Oprah settles, Palin's show

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    >>> oprah settles a deformation lawsuit. let's get the scoop from msnbc.com pop culture specialist courtney hazlett. oprah settled?

    >> yes. last week we reported the judge had just decided it was clear there was enough evidence for this deformation suit to go forward. to bring you up to speed if you didn't keep up with it then, this head mistress at oprah 's school in africa said the remarks she made after she was dismissed were defamatory and that's why they were going to court. the two parties met without their lawyers. they are not going to discuss the agreement.

    >> face-to-face.

    >> face-to-face. oprah happened to be in africa at the school. no one is saying whether that's where she met with the head mistress. she's back at the school according to reports. no file in philadelphia, no reason to mob philadelphia hoping to get a glimpse of oprah winfrey . she's not going to be there. that is taken care of." another legal case in the news, michael jackson case -- not michael jackson 's case but conrad murray , california wants to revoke dr. murray 's license to practice medicine. this seems like a no-brainer at this point, once you're charged with involuntary manslaughter. dr. murray has still been allowed to prosecute medicine. he till sees patients. this is how he makes his living. that's what his attorneys are going to argue, you can't keep him from having a livelihood. we know he has a lot of financial obligations. he was in the news a few months, massive debt and child support . we'll see how that turns out.

    >> there's allegations rather than continue to give cpr to michael jackson , he was hiding the drug.

    >> one of the people on hand when michael jackson died, who was in that house , claims in a new report that dr. murray stopped doing cpr so he could clean up the scene, remove some of these vials of drugs. that's an inconsistent report. he hadn't said that in the past. remains to be seen how much credence that will be given. also in the news, sarah palin , one of our favorites, is looking like discovery networks are going to pick up sarah palin 's alaska, her reality show . the mind boggling part, she will be getting or the show will be getting more than a million dollars per episode.

    >> the figure doesn't surprise me, but the nature of the show is not about the palin family and shenanigans might go on.

    >> sarah palin is the meeting with executives more about alaska. discovery networks tend to pay somewhere in the neighborhood of $300 to $500,000 per episode per show. going to a million per episode that's huge.

    >> mark burnett partnering with her is the good negotiator in this situation. they are obviously putting a lot of eggs in that basket if they move forward with that. interesting to see how they make up that revenue. it's a lot of money. industry executives i've spoken to are flabbergasted they would put that kind of cash out.

    >> a lot may watch it. the life series oprah narrated, 11.8 million viewers.

    >> i was one of them. it was fantastic. you had the power of oprah winfrey . we'll see.

    >> see you at 2:00.

    >> nice to see you again.

    >> thank you. i feel like

By
updated 3/23/2010 8:42:05 PM ET 2010-03-24T00:42:05

Oprah Winfrey has settled a defamation lawsuit filed by a headmistress she had accused of performing poorly at her South African girls school, where some students claimed they were abused, lawyers said Tuesday.

The lawsuit by former headmistress Nomvuyo Mzamane claimed Winfrey defamed her in remarks made in the wake of the 2007 sex-abuse scandal at the school. Mzamane said she had trouble finding a job after Winfrey stated she had "lost confidence" in her and was "cleaning house from top to bottom."

A trial had been set to start next week in federal court in Philadelphia. Winfrey and several schoolgirls had been expected to testify.

A joint statement released late Tuesday by lawyers for both sides said Winfrey and Mzamane met to resolve their differences.

"The two parties met woman to woman without their lawyers and are happy that they could resolve this dispute peacefully to their mutual satisfaction," the statement said.

Winfrey was visiting her school last week when U.S. District Judge Eduardo Robreno refused to dismiss the lawsuit, concluding Mzamane had presented enough evidence to go to trial. Court papers suggest Mzamane is again working at a school in Africa, but a Winfrey spokeswoman declined to say if the meeting took place during Winfrey's trip.

The parties do not plan to discuss terms of the settlement, according to the spokeswoman, who works with Winfrey's production company, Harpo Productions, which also was a defendant in the suit.

A dorm matron at the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls has been charged in South Africa with abusing six students. Winfrey has called the allegations crushing given her own stated history of childhood sexual abuse.

The dorm matron, Tiny Virginia Makopo, has pleaded not guilty to 14 charges.

Slideshow: Celebrity Sightings Mzamane claimed that she was never told of the sexual abuse. However, Winfrey's lawyers said in their pretrial memo this month that Mzamane failed to discipline Makopo despite her history of run-ins with students and fellow staff.

One of Mzamane's lawyers, Timothy McGowan, did not immediately return a call seeking comment Tuesday.

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Mzamane, born in Lesotho, formerly worked at the private Germantown Friends School in Philadelphia and was living in the city when she sued two years ago. She earned $150,000 a year as Winfrey's headmistress.

Winfrey had planned to defend the case on free speech and other grounds, arguing she merely voiced her opinions.

Mzamane's lawyers, who noted Winfrey's huge media reach, contended listeners would think the remarks were based on facts she had gleaned from the school's internal investigation.

Slideshow: It's Oprah's world Winfrey, as a named defendant, would have had to attend the trial each day, and courthouse staff had been preparing for a media onslaught.

In court papers, Winfrey said she had planned to hire nurses to serve as dorm matrons for the 150 seventh- and eighth-grade girls who were selected from impoverished backgrounds to attend her school. Mzamane instead hired eight young women from a local company called Party Design, she said.

"These young women were later found to be totally unqualified to handle the position, something Ms. Mzamane had been warned about," Winfrey's lawyers wrote.

During the school year, Makopo attacked another dorm parent, injured three people while driving a golf cart after a champagne party at Mzamane's home and retaliated rather than apologize to girls who complained of mistreatment, while Mzamane did little or nothing, Winfrey's lawyers had alleged in their trial memo.

The school now has about 330 students.

Forbes last year listed Winfrey's net worth at $2.7 billion. However, for trial purposes, lawyers stipulated the amount at $1.2 billion. Mzamane's suit had sought more than $250,000.

In 1998, Winfrey successfully defended a libel lawsuit brought by a group of Texas cattle ranchers. The ranchers had sued her and a vegetarian activist over a talk-show segment on mad cow disease, in which Winfrey swore off hamburgers. Winfrey spent six weeks on trial in Texas, sometimes taping her show there, before the jury acquitted her.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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