Peanuts Holiday Specials Won’t Air on Network TV for the First Time in More Than 50 Years
Since time immemorial (or, more accurately, since the 1960s), families have paused their hectic holiday schedules to gather in front of the television and watch Charles Schulz’s Peanuts crew encounter giant pumpkins and tiny Christmas trees.
CBS debuted the first special, A Charlie Brown Christmas, in 1965, and It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving followed in 1966 and 1973, respectively. They continued airing the programs annually until ABC took over in 2001, but the decades-long streak remained unbroken.
Soon, that streak will end. According to MeTV, the Peanuts specials will not be broadcast on network television this year. Instead, they’ll be available to stream on AppleTV+, which acquired the rights earlier this year. If you don’t already have a subscription, there’s no need to sign up just yet—as People reports, the platform is making all three seminal specials free to watch on specific days this holiday season. Non-subscribers can press play on It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown anytime from October 30 to November 1; A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving will be free from November 25 to November 27; and you can catch A Charlie Brown Christmas from December 11 to December 13. While it’ll definitely be convenient for people to choose when to watch the specials on their own, nostalgists will likely lament the end of the nationwide camaraderie born of synchronized viewing.
If you’re not just a seasonal Peanuts fan, you might want to go ahead and spring for an actual subscription to AppleTV+. It’s now the official home for all existing Peanuts content, and there’s plenty more on the way. According to a press release, kid-focused production company WildBrain (responsible for Teletubbies and Caillou, among other shows) is partnering with AppleTV+ and Lee Mendelson Film Productions to create Peanuts programs for Mother’s Day, Earth Day, and more.