Baltimore teen-agers tell 'Oprah' who'd be ideal date for their mom

November 13, 1992|By Steve McKerrow | Steve McKerrow,Staff Writer

Call it the courtship of Clarice and Samuel's mother. Today's "Oprah Winfrey Show" is slated to include a Baltimore family in a segment called "Finding a Date for Mom."

Juernene Bass, a 35-year-old single mother and computer program analyst at USF&G, was chosen to be paired with a date in front of the cameras. The selection criteria were based on ideal characteristics supplied by her children, Clarice Bridges, 16, and Samuel Ferrell, 13.

"They first spoke to the kids, before I even knew about it," said Ms. Bass yesterday. "I can't wait to see it."

She has yet to view the tape of her appearance, recorded in September. She has alerted fellow employees to watch, as well as members of her church, Providence Baptist, Pennsylvania and Lafayette avenues.

As it turned out, the contrived date did not lead to any longer term relationship. But the Western High and University of Baltimore graduate and her kids did get a trip to Chicago and a night out on the town from the "sweeps month" program stunt.

"I didn't get a vacation this year so this was my one vacation," she said. And it all came about this way:

A publicist for the popular syndicated program, Robin Beaman, is a Baltimore native and a former classmate of Ms. Bass. In July, she suggested Clarice and Ferrell might be good candidates for a planned segment on children concerned about their single parents' dating, as dramatized in the movie and TV series, "The Courtship of Eddie's Father."

When she was asked if it was all right, Ms. Bass recalls, "I said sure, because I didn't think it would really happen." But show producers soon called to speak to the children to develop a list of date characteristics.

The family was flown to Chicago on Sept. 15 to tape the show the next day, joining six other single parents and their kids, said Ms. Beaman.

As it turned out, Ms. Bass was paired with a single father from Buffalo, N.Y., Leon Mitchell Sr., whose children had supplied their ideas of an ideal date for their dad. The date took place the same night.

"He was very nice. But he's from New York. And I also wasn't interested in starting a dating relationship with somebody who already has children."

A TV COURTSHIP

What: "The Oprah Winfrey Show."

Topic: Finding a date for mom.

When: 4 p.m. today, WMAR-Channel 2

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