Ryan Seacrest Productions Boards Russian Doll Game Show

'Babushka,' an Israeli format, resembles 'Deal or No Deal' — without the briefcases.
Courtesy of Armoza Formats

Further evidence of the reality market's current thirst for game shows, Ryan Seacrest Productions has boarded a new competitive format that will be shopped to international buyers at this year's MIPTV.

Aligning itself with Israeli developer Armoza Formats and France's TF1 Group, Seacrest's operation announced Monday that it's made a pact to develop the primetime studio game show Babushka. Named after the famous Russian dolls, which open up to reveal even smaller dolls, Babushka contestants have to open eight of 10 of the giant hollow toys, in hopes of accumulating dollars and winning up to $500,000. (Think Deal or No Deal, without the briefcases.)

“We’re looking forward to working with Armoza and TF1 on Babushka — the combination of such an engaging and emotional game show and the fresh take of bringing contestants along for the whole ride struck us from the first moment and led us to choose it as the first format we have taken on as an international partnership," said RSP president Eugene Young. "This really is the next generation of TV programming.”

Given the specificity of the premise and the name, it's fair to assume some markets will probably be more responsive than others.

"Babushka is a very special format that brings back the real thrill of game shows without any of the safety nets," added Armoza CEO Avi Armoza. "The game show combines knowledge, luck and strategy in a fun way where you never know what is going to happen next. We’re thrilled to be collaborating for the first time with Ryan Seacrest Productions on this exciting project, and to be continuing our strong relationship with TF1 Group.”

Somewhere, Kate Bush waits quietly to be approached about the theme song.