Paranormal shows spirit up viewers

Nets roll out shows on haunted houses, wannabe witches

AMSTERDAM — When it comes to formats, anything out-of-body, out-of-mind or even out-of-this-world is grabbing audiences in Scandinavia.

The craze kicked off in Denmark, and it’s beginning to travel. “The paranormal can be much more normal than most people think,” says Brita Sohlberg, managing director of Sweden’s Mastiff Media, which has cranked out several of the territory’s hottest formats.

Six formats about clairvoyance, the occult and the extra-sensory are on air in Denmark.

“Power of the Spirits,” where mediums exorcise haunted houses, has been on Denmark’s TV2/Zulu since October 2000.

The following year Mastiff Media format “Sixth Sense” bowed on TV2 Danmark. Panelists, including one with occult powers, try to discover which famous celebs are hidden behind a curtain.

Clairvoyants on Nordisk Film’s “Sensing Murder,” airing on TV Danmark, have been helping police solve murders for three seasons.

Not to be left out, pubcaster and chief rival Danmark Radio-TV (DR-TV) looks at the possibility that “Sensing Murder” may be hoo-haw in “Sensing Cheating.”

TV2/Zulu’s “Clairvoyance” is in its second season of shedding second sight on the subject, while Mastiff Media’s newly launched “Psychic Cafe,” also on TV2/Zulu, has a clairvoyant, a palm reader and an astrologer trying to help auds solve problems.

Now Mastiff Media is conjuring up “Witchcraft,” a yet-to-be produced show where wannabe witches learn their craft.

Hot Swedish format maker Strix has gone one step beyond even that: it has started production of “Backtrack,” a format which helps people discover their past lives.

The paranormal formats clearly have legs: “Sensing Murder” is in eight territories, and in Romania is being credited with helping police solve a murder, “Sixth Sense” is on ATV in Turkey, and “Power of the Spirits” is on TVNorge in Norway and is said to be headed for Spain.

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