NEW TIME SLOT!!
Beginning Saturday, April 19th, The Mystery Hour late night talk show is changing time slots. The show will move a half hour earlier, from 9:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Saturday nights. The change is due to an increase in viewership in the five months the show has been on the air on FOX-KRBK. “This is very exciting for us,” says host and executive producer, Jeff Houghton. “It’s a great vote of confidence, and will allow us to be seen by more people. We may be doing something right after all.”
THE PREMIERE IS THIS SATURDAY NIGHT, NOVEMBER 16TH AT 9:30 PM ON FOX-KRBK
Saturday, November 16th!
Program your DVR
Put it in your calendar
Set your night rooster
We’ll air that Saturday night, and then just keep rolling every Saturday after that. We will be following college football, so if a game goes into overtime, it may be after that. If you’re setting a DVR, it may be wise to record the next show afterwards as well.
The show will rerun each week late on Thursday night/early on Friday morning at 1:00 or 1:30 am that way the college students may catch it during a time that they will find it extra funny.
That’s right, folks, we’re moving stations. I’ve wanted to announce it for a long time, but have had to hold off while we’ve worked out details. That, you see, is why the show has been off the air since early June. I’ve had a lot of people ask, but wasn’t able to say anything until now. The show has been off due to a standard non-compete clause in the contract that ensures the show won’t air for a bit (it will be January at the latest). That way someone couldn’t just keep moving a show around willy-nilly.
It’s very exciting news. Just like with the Gillioz, FOX approached us excited about the show and wanted to air it on their station. What is most exciting is that the show will get a better time slot on Saturday night (9:00 or 9:30 pm, as opposed to 11:00 pm previously), and will re-run once through the week. That, combined with the fact that most of the time our lead-in programming will be FOX Sports, means that we will grow our audience significantly.
As for KOZL, it was hard leaving, they had been nothing but great to work with. It kind of felt like I was breaking up with my first girlfriend, albeit my first TV station girlfriend, if that makes any sense. They gave us a shot on TV, and the people we worked with there were just great.
With the increase in viewership, and FOX’s enthusiasm for the show, it just made sense to jump on board. Combined with the move to the Gillioz, times are exciting for us at The Mystery Hour World Headquarters. I’m really looking forward to seeing Ryan Seacrest, Jack Bauer, and Zooey Deschannel in the break room. Be sure to check out the first taping on September 6th.
I’ve sent out a press release, but let’s just talk like the friends we are. This is so exciting! I (Jeff) is a big local history geek, so aside from the increase in exposure, and move to a better location, it’s just exciting that we’re moving to the historic movie palace. They approached us in the spring about considering it, and it just makes sense to do it.
We’re going to be taping the show on the First Friday of the month, which is how we used to do it in the old days. It’s the perfect time to do a show downtown, that’s when the most people are down there. Plus, everyone knows where the Gillioz is, so we don’t have to explain it anymore. Plus, plus, the Gillioz gives the show a lot of credibility. Plus, plus, plus, we can start having full bands on the show. Plus, plus, plus, plus, the band that plays the last episode will immediately begin a concert afterwards.
Plus, plus, plus, plus, plus, we’ll be taping three episodes in one night, instead of four like we did before. My only real complaint from the previous seasons was that shooting four episodes was long, man. This will be much more satisfying.
Plus, plus, plus, plus, plus, plus, we’re in the process of building a set, like a real set. Any of you TMH old-timers out there remember how the show used to be back in the day? Well, we’re looking more and more legit all the time. Don’t forget though, we’re still the same weird, crappy show we’ve always been.
The first taping will be Friday, September 6th at 7:00 pm
SEASON TWO PREMIERE NIGHT OF TAPING WENT GREAT!
Check out the update on the first night of taping in a blog post Jeff wrote on his blog:
SEASON TWO IS PREMIERING MARCH 8TH FOR A LIVE TAPING
Springfield’s Best and Only Late Night Talk Show, The Mystery Hour is back to kick off Season Two on March 8th. “Season One last taped in September, so it is time to get started again,” says host, Jeff Houghton. “We’ve made some big improvements. I think people will be really impressed.” The Mystery Hour has recently partnered with Hite Media to produce the show, which brings experience and resources to the table to further the viewing experience for the home viewer and the live audience.
“I can’t wait,” says Mystery Hour fan, Josh Kitchin. “The show’s hilarious and you need to see it in person, there’s nothing else like it.” The Mystery Hour is the only television show taped in front of a live studio audience in the Springfield area. The Mystery Hour tapes four half-hour episodes (two at 8:00 pm and two at 10:00 pm) on the second Friday of each month at the Randy Bacon Studio, located at 600 W. College St. Tickets are $5.00 per person. The show airs on Saturday nights at 11:00 pm on KOZL.
Springfield’s Best and Only Late Night Talk Show, The Mystery Hour is gearing up for Season Two on KOZL and is looking for sponsors. Historically, The Mystery Hour has partnered with local businesses for sponsorship during the show. “It’s kind of old-fashioned,” says host and executive producer, Jeff Houghton. “We work the sponsorships into the body of the show itself, like they used to do in the 1950s. The great advantage of that is that the sponsorship is not skipped over with a DVR like an advertisement during a commercial break might be.” The Mystery Hour is viewed by thousands of people each week on television and even more during the live tapings. The Mystery Hour has the following sponsorships available, Title, Musical Guest, and Things I’ve Noticed. For more information on partnering with a young, hip, distinctive brand in a unique medium please contact Jeff Houghton at (417) 838-6561.
HITE MEDIA PARTNERSHIP 2/20/13
Springfield’s Best and Only Late Night Talk Show, The Mystery Hour is gearing up for Season Two on KOZL. The Mystery Hour is pleased to announce a new partnership formed with Hite Media for the production of the show. “I couldn’t be more excited,” said Mystery Hour creator, Jeff Houghton. “They are a top notch production company with years of experience and will help take the show to the next level.”
Hite Media specializes in multi-camera production for music, sporting, conference events, graphics creation, DVD production, live broadcast, and live streaming. Hite Media produces many events in the area as well as elsewhere. “Producing a live late night talk show is unique in Springfield,” says founder, Brandon Hite. “I watched the first season of the show and was impressed. I really thought that with our experience we could offer the show a lot of production value.”
Season Two of The Mystery Hour will be starting soon. An announcement will be coming in the near future.
We’re having a bonus show on Friday, September 28th! And, it’s the Season One Finale! Jeff’s wife is due in early October, so we moved the show up. Come by and check it out. See a real TV show taped in person.
The Mystery Hour at Fort Hays State University, in Hay, KS went great. 700+ people showed up and everyone seemed to have a good time. Thanks Hays!
The Mystery Hour will be heading to Hays, KS to put on a show at Ft. Hays State University in the beautiful Beach/Schmidt Performing Arts Center. We’ll bring the late night talk show fun to the audience featuring notable guests from the area, and a great local band.
Friday, September 21st
For tickets, click here.
Greg Brady is going to be on the show! Barry Williams played Greg Brady on the original show and became known for it. Now, he’s going to be on our show, this Friday night, August 10th, at 8 pm. Be sure to get reservations!
IT’S OFFICIAL! TELEVISION PREMIERE IS THIS SATURDAY NIGHT.
The award winning Mystery Hour is finally set to make its television premiere. Springfield’s Best and Only Late Night Talk Show will no longer be a fake TV show beginning at 11:00 pm Saturday night, June 2nd on KOZL, and continuing weekly every Saturday night at that time.
The show is a half hour and the first episode will feature Mutemath guitarist, Todd Gummerman and the music of Cornbelt Chorus. Mutemath is an internationally touring band that, among many accolades, have been nominated for a Grammy. Cornbelt Chorus is a local band that also features Todd Gummerman.
Taping in front of a live studio audience has been underway for the shows on the second Friday of each month since April at Randy Bacon Studio, 600 W. College St. Upcoming episodes include Johnny Wilkinson, Elvis’s longtime guitarist, Jeff Jenkins of The Skinny Improv, Devin Cara, owner of the third best natural beard in the world and many others.
The Mystery Hour is hosted by Jeff Houghton. Houghton worked at the Late Show with David Letterman, and has been a part of The Skinny Improv since 2004. In 2009, Houghton was named Entertainer of the Year by 417 Magazine. The Mystery Hour began at The Skinny Improv as a live show for five seasons with tremendous success, and plenty of self deprecation as a fake TV show, but now, it is finally real.
The next live taping is June 8th at 8:00 pm and 10:00 pm at Randy Bacon Studio.
WHO NEEDS HOLLYWOOD? Springfield News-Leader.com 4/13/12
Local comedian Jeff Houghton will be starring in his own television show, “The Mystery Hour,” which begins airing in May on KOZL. It is filmed at Randy Bacon Studio on the second Friday of each month. / Nathan Papes News-Leader
One of the most important life lessons local comedian Jeff Houghton learned, after a grueling 10-months in Los Angeles, is that success may be waiting for you in your own back yard.
Houghton, who returned to Springfield in early December from his Hollywood acting adventure, will star in his own television show, “The Mystery Hour” — revived from its days as a non-televised live late night talk show in downtown Springfield. The first episodes are being taped tonight in front a studio audience at Randy Bacon Studio.
“You just never know how things are going to turn out,” Houghton reflected.
Houghton knows that the entertainment biz involves lots of dead ends and wrong-way turns before you get where you need to be going.
In February 2011, the 33-year-old performing arts factotum — who has worked as a freelance magazine writer, actor, improviser and late night talk-show host — swapped certainty for a little adventure. With plans for a family on the horizon, Houghton sought to settle the “what-ifs” in his life; to go after his Hollywood dreams while he still had the chance.
He packed up his car and left it all behind: his beloved wife Michelle, friends and family canines, financial stability, his day job as a field representative for Community Blood Center of the Ozarks and his local role as a comedy performer. He headed west with only the bare bones of a plan to pursue his goal of becoming a television star.
“My wife and I got married in 2006,” Houghton said. “I told her before I left that I’ve got to do this before we have kids. We talked about it and the best solution for us was for her to stay here because she had a stable job, and for me to go out to L.A. open-ended. Either sometime I would move back or she would move out there. We had no plans; we were just going to see what happened.”
Funny thing is, he had to return to the Queen City of the Ozarks to put his arms around opportunity.
Popularity no mystery
Before he left for the City of Angels, Houghton hosted “The Mystery Hour,” the original live show that he often poked fun at for not being televised. It ran from November 2006 until February 2011 at the Skinny Improv Theatre.
Houghton, a former talent department intern for David Lettermen, formatted his production similar to Letterman’s “Late Show” in style and tone. “The Mystery Hour,” which Houghton describes as delightfully odd, features a monologue, comedy bits, interviews and musical guests. Esteemed visitors have included Branson’s Yakov Smirnov, former Missouri State University and current Tennessee basketball coach Cuonzo Martin, Republican Sen. Billy Long and professional freestyle motocross rider Kenny Bartram.
“My theory is there are a lot of interesting people in Springfield doing a lot of interesting things, but you don’t always know about it,” Houghton said. “So, ‘The Mystery Hour’ was designed to highlight those people and to have a lot of comedy with it, too.”
Houghton’s big break came unexpectedly in September when KSFX-TV was rebranded as the independent station KOZL-Ozarks TV, after losing its Fox network affiliation. Houghton, who was visiting Springfield for a friend’s wedding in September, contacted and met with KOZL vice president Mark Gordon about the possibility of “The Mystery Hour” becoming a full-fledged television program after he returned from West Hollywood around the start of the New Year.
Gordon was sold.
“When we first became an independent station, we were looking at a lot of local programming ideas,” Gordon said. “We knew Jeff from the Skinny Improv and he’s hilarious. His show is different and unique, and has a big local following, so it should be a great partnership.”
Today it’s official. “The Mystery Hour” will be taped live on the second Friday of each month, starting with tonight’s debut at the Randy Bacon Studio, a venue that can seat up to 150 people. Four 30-minute episodes will be taped each production night in two-show blocks, at 8 and 10 p.m. Admission is $5 to see for one block or $8 for both blocks. Episodes will air at 10 p.m. Saturdays in May on KOZL as a weekly half-hour show.
Man behind the curtain
Organizing your own television show may be exciting, but it isn’t a cinch. Houghton’s new challenge is filled with complications.
“A couple of months ago I moved back and thought to myself, ‘I don’t know how this is all going to work,’” Houghton confessed. “I moved back and I didn’t have a venue anymore. The Skinny had moved to a more intimate location, my camera guy sold his equipment and my video guy wasn’t able to help anymore. I’ve spent the last few months working my tail off.”
When Houghton started “The Mystery Hour” in 2006, he was the show’s only writer. Now, with some help from his friends from the Skinny, at his disposal are a team of five writers, six cameramen and his friend Eli Cunningham doing video and show graphics. He also has a store manager, a house manager and an intern doing box office and marketing work.
Skinny Improv founder and now writer for “The Mystery Hour,” Jeff Jenkins started the first talk show with Houghton as a shared idea. He is proud to see both the show and Houghton’s progression as a talk show host.
“It’s a lot of fun working with Jeff,” Jenkins said. “He’s a very creative and imaginative person. It’s his show and his gift.”
Springfield resident Derek Hime is a “Mystery Hour” lifer. He estimates he’s been to every show since 2006 except for one or two he missed while out of town on vacation with his family. He said that he plans to attend the taping tonight of both of Houghton’s shows.
“It’s very uplifting and enjoyable,” Hime said. “I like the fact that it’s family-friendly too. My 10-year-old loves it. It’s kind of the only culture I get during the month.”
Resident Dorothy Harsen and husband Mark frequent Skinny Improv shows, which included “The Mystery Hour” before it closed last year. She fondly recalls Houghton’s early performances.
“I still remember ‘Mystery’ Jeff’s first Skinny Improv show,” Dorothy Harsen said. “He has come a long way, but he had something special from the very start. Jeff does a great job with ‘The Mystery Hour’ because he loves to poke fun at himself. He doesn’t get a laugh at the audience’s expense.”
OZARKER LEARNS LESSONS IN LA-LA LAND Sprinfield News-Leader 4/13/12
Jeff Houghton, a corn-fed, flat-earth Iowa native transfer to hilly Ozarks-land, may not have made it big in L.A., but he picked up some valuable experience in Tinsel Town along the way that he can apply to “The Mystery Hour.”
“That year in L.A. was about blowing things up and going for it,” Houghton said. “L.A. was everything I’d hoped it would be, but it was tough. It was just jumping into this different world and you have to learn how that world works.”
Houghton, also a freelance writer, blogged about his West Coast exploits in what he called “The Mystery Year” (http://themysteryyear.wordpress.com/). Some of his big L.A. thrills included performing stand-up at the legendary comedy club “The Comedy Store,” becoming Screen Actors Guild eligible, performing in Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theater and taking improvisation classes and being an extra for the fifth episode of the fifth season of AMC’s “Mad Men.”
“I was basically just standing there holding a briefcase and smoking an herbal cigarette,” Houghton said of his extra experience. “It’s kind of funny because here people are like: ‘Wow, that’s really cool!’ But out there, being an extra is the lowest form of acting you can do. It’s still fun being on the set though.”
For 10 months in L.A., Houghton stayed in his friend’s parents’ basement, a living situation he called both awkward and fun. He survived on crackers and got little sleep in the vibrant city. Although he would consider returning to Hollywood, Houghton said, he had no problem coming home to the Ozarks when his wife called him hither.
“She basically said to me, ‘It’s time to come back,’ which was fine because Los Angeles took most of my money, too,” Houghton said. “Michelle was living alone in our house. She was way more supportive than I deserved — and more supportive than most wives would be.”
That’s not all.
“The ultimate decider for my career was to start raising kids and to have a family in Springfield,” Houghton said with a smile.
The couple recently announced that Michelle is pregnant.