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A photo of Stephen Colbert with a pickleball wrapped around his finger and a big green Joola pickleball paddle.
Pickled airs Nov. 17th, 2022

Pickled is the Celebrity Pickleball Tournament that CBS Insists You Watch!

Hollywood Execs from CBS Studios are partnering with Stephen Colbert and Funny or Die to bring you a two-hour, MTV Rock N' Jock style Pickleball Tournament where celebrities compete to win the Golden Gherkin.

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If that doesn't sound like fun to you, we're not sure what would.

Announced in March of 2022, Spartina Productions (Colbert), CBS Studios and Funny or Die banded together to get this show launched. They're hoping for a mix of sports & comedy (not necessarily in that order) to entertain you and bring the bourgeoning sport of Pickleball to the masses. Or rather, they're capturing on the exploding popularity of the sport to make a dollar.

Either way, we have to say that we're tuning in to the show. And while the initial tournament will be 16 celebrities playing, one can imagine that it's only a matter of time before there are guest spots from retired professional and olympic athletes, as well as professional pickleball players.

Couldn't you just see ex Patriots Wide Receiver Julian Edelman and #1 ranked Tyson McGuffin playing a match against Ben Johns and long-retired Andy Roddick? Yeah, us too.

The History of Pickled

The idea for a "competitive" celebrity Pickleball Tournament floated around Hollywood for a little while before getting greenlit for production for the team involved. Apparently once the pandemic hit and supply chain issues arose, Colbert took a renewed interest and the initiative to get it shipped, stating, "... And since the supply chain snarl has delayed delivery of my Margaritaville™ Frozen Drink Machine, I find myself with some free time. I’m honored to be a part of the ‘Pickled’ family.”

The history of Pickleball is long enough and extensive enough that we're surprised that it took this long to get it on the big screen. It must explain why the news coming out of late has a bunch of other celebs jumping on the Pickleball train and snatching up teams, celebs such as Lebron James, as reported by Time, and Tom Brady, as reported by CBS.

Host of Pickled, Stephen Colbert sitting at a podium in a Pickled coat with a headset on
Love the Pickled jacket, Colbert!

Who is Producing Pickled?

Below are the the major players behind those production houses, including execs, showrunners and more.

The CEO of Funny or Die, Mike Farah, had this to say, according to The Wrap, "This idea was inspired by playing pickleball with my mom back in Michigan, and she has lots of ideas for this show. Is this an appropriate forum to let Stephen know my mom wants to be showrunner?”

Hopefully Farah's mom is a 4.5+ player if she's going to start throwing around suggestions.

When Does Pickled Premiere & Where Can You Watch It?

Pickled first airs on 11/17/2022. The show will kick off with a two-hour special on CBS. It will also be streamed live and on demand for those with access Paramount+.

Where Will the Proceeds Go?

Also according to The Wrap, all proceeds for Pickled will go to Comic Relief US. Comic Relief US is an organization that has set its sights on breaking the cycle of poverty by building community-driven programs that help to eliminate social injustice. The improvement of personal safety and the attempt to reduce homelessness are byproducts of their exceptional work.

Pickleball Courts with Kitchen Zones colored differently to highlight themselves
Will Celebrities know and understand Kitchen rules?

What are the Tournament Rules of Pickled?

We've yet to find out what the House Rules of the Tournament will be. Is it safe to assume that Kitchen rules apply? We're not sure. We'd imagine that they will be doing their best to play to USA Pickleball Standards.

Only time will tell.

As for exposure, the level of interest in the tournament will be carefully monitored. If it generates enough, it may just earn a little more street cred (and media push) to get Pickleball into the 2028 Olympics.

Cast Celebrities Who are Participating in Pickled

This entire list represents players, anthem singers, and more.

Apparently Kenny Loggins and Colbert will be singing the National Anthem. You know Kenny Loggins from all of the 80s movies you love best. That's because Kenny Loggins is the king of the 80s movie soundtrack. Footloose, Over the Top, Top Gun, you name it, he's done it.

Tyson McGuffin hitting a dink shot by the kitchen
Tell us you don't want to see THIS guy in a TV Pro-Am

Future Celebrity Matches We'd Want to See on CBS's Pickled

And also Hall vs Oates. Because that's the celeb Pickleball match the world doesn't know it needs.

What Pickleball Brands are involved with the show?

From the looks of things, it seems like Joola will have a hand in delivering paddles to the celebrity contestants. We haven't confirmed that news, but we are working on it.

Wrapping Up

The Hollywood Reporter shared this quote from Stephen Colbert back in March, “I love hosting The Late Show, but at the end of the day — and I’m specifically talking about the hours between 8 and 10 p.m. Eastern — I see Pickled as a chance to bring lots of different people together for something playful and unpredictable,”

We're super glad that Colbert feels that way, as we can't wait to watch everyone take the court in one month's time. We'll get to see who is good with a paddle and who probably should have just stayed at the bar sipping cocktails.

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