The Peanuts characters have been a staple of holiday television for over fifty years, with the three thematically appropriate entries — It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and A Charlie Brown Christmas — appearing every year since their debuts in 1965, 1973 and 1966 respectively. They aired on CBS for over thirty years, then ABC for twenty, but then this year they disappeared from the broadcast schedule entirely.
It was revealed that it was Apple’s fault: they had landed an exclusive deal with Peanuts LLC to produce new cartoons exclusively for the Apple TV+ service, and that deal extended itself to the existing Peanuts specials as well.
Apple decided to be “nice” and offer the three holiday specials for free, for a day or two each. They made Pumpkin available on Apple TV+ from October 30 to November 1, but it didn’t pacify anyone. And why would it? The specials are an institution, and taking them off public airwaves amounted to blasphemy.
After facing much wailing on social media, Apple appears to have caved. A deal was announced today with PBS where they will air the latter two specials in time for their respective holidays. You can now catch Charlie Brown Thanksgiving on PBS and PBS Kids this November 22 at 7:30 PM, and Charlie Brown Christmas on those same channels December 13 at 7:30 PM.
We can assume this was a direct result of the bad press, because it wasn’t part of the original announcement. As for Pumpkin, well, I guess it’s too late. We’ll see what happens next year.
The free deal from Apple remains in place, so if you feel the urge, you can use their app to watch Charlie Brown Thanksgiving from November 25 through November 27 and Charlie Brown Christmas from December 11 to December 13. But if you ask us, if it ain’t broadcast, it ain’t the same.