‘It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown’ Will Not Air on TV This Year

Published on October 20, 2020

For the last 20 years, ABC has been airing It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. The Peanuts Halloween special, however, will not air on cable this year. Hardcore fans of Brown, Snoopie, and the gang can thank AppleTV+ for no Peanuts on cable this Halloween. 

Apple’s streaming service now has the rights to the Peanuts TV specials. It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is now available to stream, but only to stream on Apple. From October 30th to November 1st, the streaming service is making the Brown classic available for free. As for ABC, the iconic special isn’t on their schedule per usual. A representative for the network has suggested that could change, but there’s no current plan to air It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.

The 25-minute special first aired in 1966. Created and written by Charles M. Schulz, the special is a holiday favorite for countless families and individuals around the world. It’s unavailable to rent on Amazon or elsewhere. Now, the special is only available to stream on AppleTv+. Apple has big plans for Schulz’s creation. Along with WildBrain, Peanuts Worldwide, and Lee Mendelson Film Productions, Apple is going to produce new specials for Mother’s Day, Earth Day, and New Year’s Eve. 

When it comes to the classic holiday specials famously replayed on ABC, there’s a problem there now. Apple has the broadcast as well as the streaming rights now. The Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and Christmas specials belong to Apple, so don’t expect them on cable this year or anytime in the near-future, either. Sadly, that means whole generations of kids won’t be watching those classics around the holidays for the next few years, unless Apple has a change of heart. 

Apple is breaking away from tradition and history. Peanuts specials have been airing since 1965 following the debut of the Christmas special. The long-time tradition is now over, thanks to Apple. The streaming service will continue to make the holiday specials free and available to non-subscribers, however, at least this year. From November 18th until the 25th, people can watch A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving for free. Only from December 11th to December 13th will A Charlie Brown Christmas be available. Apple TV+ is available in over 100 countries and a billion screens, but there are still millions of people without Apple products and perhaps only cable to watch the Peanuts specials with their families. It’s a shame less fortunate families who can’t afford Apple products won’t be able to watch the Peanuts specials this year.

When it comes to the future of Peanuts, Apple has big plans, including another season of Snoopy in Space and a 70th anniversary documentary. “The original programs and new specials will also soon stream globally alongside iconic ‘Peanuts’ specials, including ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas,’ ‘A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving’ and ‘It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,’” according to Apple. “The Halloween special will begin streaming globally on Apple TV+ on October 19, and will be available for free from October 30 until November 1 as a special treat on Apple TV+.” 

Apple made the deal for the Peanuts TV shows two years ago, so the change in ABC’s programming has been a long time coming. The iconic characters were created in 1950, making them 70 years old now. Charlie Brown and the gang debuted in a comic strip in a newspaper. All these years later, the characters and stories remain timeless. 

However, the creator of Peanuts never wanted them to carry on this long. There’s a good chance Schulz wouldn’t be happy about what Apple is doing to his original characters. “My family does not wish Peanuts to be continued by anyone else, therefore I am announcing my retirement,” he once wrote. 

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.

Read more

More GD News