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November 21, 2020

Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, Christmas specials to air on PBS after outcry over exclusive AppleTV+ deal

The tech company bowed to pressure after the classic 'Peanuts' Halloween episode was not on broadcast TV last month

Streaming Holiday
charlie brown thanksgiving pbs Courtesy of/PBS

'A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving' and 'A Charlie Brown Christmas' will air on TV this holiday season after all. The Thanksgiving classic will be broadcast commercial free at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 22. The plan had been for the holiday specials to be streamed exclusively on Apple TV+.

The holiday season is going to be different this year, but it will not be without two beloved classic Charlie Brown specials being broadcast on TV.

The plan had been for Apple TV+ to feature "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" and "A Charlie Brown Christmas" on its platform as part of its exclusive deal to stream the entire "Peanuts" catalogue, which is why the third episode of this holiday trilogy, "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown," never appeared on TV last month. 

For decades the Charlie Brown specials had aired on ABC. After the Halloween special's absence in October, people were upset, and an online petition was started that has collected more than 263,000 signatures.

Apple heard the outcry, and this week a deal was announced to allow PBS to air "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 22 and "A Charlie Brown Christmas" at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 13. Both will be shown commercial free.

While good news for everyone staying at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, it was all too late for "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown."

This year was the first since 1966 that "The Great Pumpkin" didn't air on a broadcast TV network, the New York Times reported. "A Charlie Brown Christmas" has been on TV every year since 1965 and "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" every year since 1973.

The specials also will air on PBS Kids. All PBS channels are free to watch.

An Apple TV+ subscription costs $4.99 month and there is a seven-day, free trial for new users. It's available on Apple devices as well as other devices with streaming capabilities.. 

"A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" became available on Apple TV+ on Wednesday, and the platform is making the show free to stream between Nov. 25 and Nov. 27.  "A Charlie Brown Christmas" arrives Dec. 4. It will be free to watch on Apple TV+ from Dec. 11 to Dec. 13.

Both Charlie Brown specials also will stream without commercials on the service. 

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