Good Grief! Charlie Brown Holiday Specials Won't Air on Broadcast TV, Moves to Apple TV+

The streaming service announced its exclusive rights to the beloved holiday classics "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown," "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving," and "A Charlie Brown Christmas"

“Peanuts” characters walk along sidewalk
Courtesy Apple TV+

For the first time in more than five decades, "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" won't air on broadcast TV.

The Halloween classic, which first aired on CBS in 1966 and eventually moved to ABC in 2001, will be available to stream on Apple TV+. On Monday, the streaming service announced its exclusive rights to the cartoon in a new partnership with WildBrain, Peanuts Worldwide and Lee Mendelson Film Productions.

The 25-minute Halloween special began streaming globally on Apple TV+ on Oct. 19, and will be available for free from Oct. 30 until Nov. 1 for those who don't have an AppleTV+ subscription.

Apple TV+ costs $4.99 a month.

The company said Charlie Brown's other holiday specials will also be available to stream for free on select days. “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” will be available free of charge from Nov. 25 until Nov. 27 and “A Charlie Brown Christmas” can be streamed for free from Dec. 1 to Dec. 13.

The beloved comic celebrated its 70th anniversary earlier this month with the announcement of a new Apple TV+ animated show debuting in February called “The Snoopy Show.”

“Peanuts” made its debut Oct. 2, 1950. The travails of the “little round-headed kid” Charlie Brown and his pals eventually ran in more than 2,600 newspapers, reaching millions of readers in 75 countries.

The 1965 CBS special “A Charlie Brown Christmas” won an Emmy and rerun immortality, and many other specials followed. There was a hit stage musical, “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.” The characters also appeared on sheets, stationery, amusement park attractions and countless other products. Apple TV+ debuted “Snoopy in Space” in 2019.

Jeannie Schulz, the widow of the comic strip’s creator, said her husband managed to create “recognizable characters that express the humanity of each of us. It hits on a lot of cylinders.”

The strip offered enduring images of kites in trees, Charlie Brown trying to kick a football, tart-tongued Lucy handing out advice for a nickel at what looked like a lemonade stand and Snoopy taking the occasional flight of fancy to the skies of World War I. Phrases such as “security blanket” and “good grief” are a part of the global vernacular. Schulz died in 2000.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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