Bitva Extrasenov (Битва Экстрасенсов), Battle of the Psychics, is a Russian-language TNT (ТНТ) TV show based on Britain’s Psychic Challenge. Running since 2007, the show reached peak popularity in November 2013 with a season dedicated to the death of Vladislav Listyev (Владислав Листев), a Soviet TV personality and journalist killed by two unknown assailants in his apartment. His death was among the most notorious of the 1990s. The season tasked the participating psychics with solving the real-world case. Despite the popularity of the season, the case remains unsolved today.

Each season starts with 8-13 participants selected for their superior psychic abilities, but tries to expose them as frauds. Tasks in the beginning of the series are relatively simple, such as revealing the contents of a sealed box or what lies behind an impenetrable screen, and progressively become more difficult. One participant judged to be worst is eliminated each week, but all participants advance to the next round if the panel is unable to come to a decision.

Co-hosts and panelists are psychic “skeptics,” and include the illusionists, The Brothers Safronov, and psychiatric criminologist Mikhail Vinogradov who remind viewers each episode that none of the participants have passed the tests without question. Although many previous show winners are professional psychics, the show opposes using psychics-for-hire, which is a controversial but quite popular practice in Russia where professional clairvoyance is estimated to be a $30-million-dollar-a-year industry. 

 

The 2015 trailer:

 

Katheryn Weaver is a student of rhetoric and history at the University of Texas, Austin. Her primary areas of investigation include revolution and the rhetorical justification of violence against individuals, state, and society. She is currently studying Russian as a Second Language with SRAS's Home and Abroad Scholarship.