‘A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving’ Will Air on Cable After All This Year

Published on November 18, 2020

The Peanuts holiday specials will air on cable this year after all. Last month, fans were disappointed when they discovered Apple owned the Peanuts and held the exclusive streaming rights. For the first time in decades, It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown didn’t air on cable. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and A Charlie Brown Christmas, on the other hand, will air on PBS this year. 

PBS, PBS Kids, and Apple announced the specials are returning to cable television. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving will air on November 22nd, while A Charlie Brown Christmas will air on December 13th. Apple+ will make both specials free to watch for a limited amount of time during the holidays, too. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving is free to watch from November 25-27, A Charlie Brown Christmas is for free to watch from December 11-13. Not only will the episodes be free but advertisement-free as well. 

While the Peanuts specials were a serious coup for Apple+, people weren’t happy to learn they were messing with history. It’s a tradition for many families to watch Charlie Brown and the gang during the holidays. Not only that, Apple was potentially depriving children of discovering Peanuts by not letting the specials air on television. Thankfully for Peanuts fans, the brass at Apple made the right decision and are making the holiday classics widely available for families, not only Apple+ subscribers. 

There was even a petition calling for Apple to let the specials air on cable. Over 262,000 people and counting have already signed it. The petition is well on its way to reaching its goal of 300,000. “For over 50 years, we have celebrated the holidays with the airings of the Peanuts holiday specials on TV – first on CBS, then on ABC. To our shock and dismay, last night it was announced that Apple had swiped the football from us and claimed the specials for their ‌Apple TV‌ platform, leaving us devoted fans who have grown up with Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang in the dark, unable to watch,” the petition reads. “Obviously we can’t let this stand. We can not let Apple take the football away from us like Lucy always does to Charlie Brown! It’s time for us Peanuts fans to stand up to Apple and Wildbrain Studios (current owners of Peanuts) and show them they’re making a mistake. With this petition, we are making a statement – the statement that #AppleHatesTradition and that the tradition of watching the Peanuts holiday specials should be renewed as soon as possible! All we have to do is sign this, send it off and and share it.”

The petition — jokingly or not, it’s hard to tell — called for Peanuts fans to “fight back!” The petition called for young and old fans to push back against “corporate greed.” These Peanuts fans might’ve had a hand in PBS airing the holiday specials. The decision makers at Apple+ were aware of the displeasure among fans and families. In the end, Apple made the right choice, although the company did not air the Halloween special on cable.

Apple has big plans for Peanuts, including another season of Snoopy in Space and a 70th-anniversary documentary. Apple made the deal for the Peanuts TV shows two years ago, so the change in ABC’s programming had been a long time coming. The iconic characters were born in 1950. All these years later, there are still millions of people who want Charlie Brown and friends a part of their holiday season. If those upcoming holiday specials brighten up anybody’s tough holidays this year, then the Apple-PBS Peanuts deal is a sweet little victory. If you enjoyed this content, consider signing up for a Grit Daily subscription.

Jack Giroux is a Staff Writer at Grit Daily. Based in Los Angeles, he is an entertainment journalist who's previously written for Thrillist, Slash Film, Film School Rejects, and The Film Stage.

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