Charlie Brown will be coming back to television for the holidays after all. After airing on ABC for decades, the Peanuts holiday specials controversially left the network for a new home on Apple’s streaming service Apple TV+. As families catching the specials on television had become a bit of a tradition, the announcement was met with great controversy. A petition was swiftly launched to convince Apple to let the specials air on broadcast television to keep the tradition alive, and over 262,000 Peanuts fans added their signatures to the list.
Now, it appears that Apple took notice of the backlash, as the company will allow two of the Peanuts specials to air this holiday season on traditional television. Deadline reports that A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving is now set to air ad free on PBS and PBS Kids on Sunday, Nov. 22 at 7:30 p.m. local time, while A Charlie Brown Christmas will get the same treatment on Sunday, Dec. 13.
Additionally, the Peanuts holiday specials will also be available to watch for stream ad free and in HD on Apple TV+, and fans will still be able to watch the specials for free at certain times on the streamer. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving will start streaming on Nov. 18 and will be available to watch for free between Nov. 25-27. A Charlie Brown Christmas will begin streaming on the service on Dec. 4 and can be watched for free between Dec. 11-13.
The Peanuts specials moving to Apple TV+ comes as part of an overall deal with WildBrain, Peanuts Worldwide, and Lee Mendelson Film Productions. Along with acquiring the rights to classic programming, the deal will also effectively make Apple TV+ the new home for all things Peanuts, which also includes new content. In the works are new holiday specials featuring Charlie Brown and the gang, set to acknowledge events like Mother’s Day, Earth Day, New Year’s Eve, and going back to school. A second season of the Peanuts series Snoopy in Space is also coming to the streaming service.
Peanuts derives from a Sunday comic strip written and illustrated by Charles M. Schulz over the span of 50 years. It follows a group of youths notably led by Charlie Brown and his pet dog Snoopy. Translating very well to television, the first holiday special — A Charlie Brown Christmas — was released to great success and even won an Emmy. Although the comic strip ended its run in 2000, new adaptations based on the series continue to keep the franchise as popular as ever, including Charlie Brown’s return to theaters with The Peanuts Movie in 2015.
Maybe the Thanksgiving and Christmas Charlie Brown holiday specials won’t be on the same network this time, but for those who signed the petition hoping to somehow see the Peanuts specials back on traditional television, this is still very good news. Let’s hope Apple keeps the tradition alive by following suit in 2021 and the years thereafter, keeping Charlie and the gang on the small screen for families to watch on holidays for many years to come. This news comes to us from Deadline.