06/01 BIG NIGHT FOR CONAN O’BRIEN
The pride of Brookline High makes his debut as host of The Tonight Show. Only the fifth comic to hold the reins, he saw his achievement notoriously blunted when NBC announced that his predecessor, Andover native Jay Leno, would helm a lead-in comedy show (which Channel 7, fearing a stinker and hoping to launch a 10 o’clock newscast, briefly threatened not to air). Despite all the teeth gnashing, O’Brien has the network to himself for a summer’s worth of a running start: Leno’s show doesn’t start until September.
06/01 RATES HIKED at THE STATE’S BIGGEST BANK
The $45 billion that the federal government pumped into Bank of America to shore up the maxed-out financial behemoth apparently wasn’t enough. Now, you can do your part: The bank today hikes transaction fees as well as interest rates for credit card users. Longtime customers might remember a similar June rate surprise a few years ago, before their accounts were transferred over from FleetBoston. Longer-time customers, dizzied by all the takeovers, no doubt still weep for the memory of Bank of Boston.
06/02 CAN AFFLECK TAME THE TOUGHEST PAR-5 IN MASSACHUSETTS?
Filming in and around Boston for much of the spring, Ben Affleck’s
The Company Men is scheduled to take to the links at Lynn’s Gannon Municipal Golf Course for a shoot today. But filmmakers might be wise to avoid the sand trap on the 15th hole: The hazard reportedly was the site of a Robert De Niro meltdown during last year’s filming of the Mel Gibson flick Edge of Darkness, which led to De Niro’s quitting the picture.
06/05 TIPSY TEENS GET FREE LIFTS HOME
In an effort to curb drunken driving, Newton South grad Sara Shapiro came up with the idea to provide kids with free cab rides during prom season. Backed by a $3,000 grant, her project, Safe Rides, runs today through 6/9. Nattering newscasters (you know who you are, Fox 25 morning crew) cried foul and erroneously suggested the funding came from federal stimulus coffers. Now that Safe Rides has had everybody from hands-off parents to Barney Frank called on the carpet for abetting teen boozing, it’s worth noting that if the program works, it may be expanded. Is your TiVo ready for the outrage?
06/06 THAT VERY FIRST KERRY COMEBACK COMES AROUND AGAIN
When Massachusetts Dems open their annual convention in Springfield today, it will mark 25 years since John Kerry laid his political foundation at the confab with a momentous defeat. Then-Lieutenant Governor Kerry, running for Paul Tsongas’s Senate seat, lost the party’s endorsement. The blow became a boost: Kerry blamed the loss on "inside baseball," framed himself as the ultimate outsider, and rode his way to a comfortable stay in office.
Questions you’ll have reason to ask this month
Notice anything different on 128? Massachusetts will ultimately get a half billion in federal stimulus dollars for transportation efforts, but initial funding is limited to soon-to-be-infamous "shovel-ready" projects. So it is that Halifax-based Liddell Brothers, winner of the first of those jobs, is now tackling the hugely urgent task of…replacing about 400 highway signs between Reading and Lexington.
Will Icahn (finally) take over Biogen? Amid fresh rumors that a pharmaceutical giant might soon try to buy up the Cambridge biotech, renegade shareholder Carl Icahn is making another spirited run at taking over Biogen, backing four allies for election to its board at this month’s annual shareholder meeting. It’s no shocker that Icahn is also keen to have stockholders vote to reincorporate the company in North Dakota, where laws make it easier for investors to commandeer corporate boards.
How smart was signing Smoltz? The Red Sox are hoping hurler John Smoltz will be ready to debut with the team this month. For a much-ballyhooed pitching rotation that’s been a bit banged up in the early going, getting the 42-year-old star into uniform (he’s recovering from shoulder surgery) ought to provide a fortuitous jolt. GEOFFREY GAGNON