The Charlie Brown Holiday Specials Will Air On PBS For Free After All

by Erica Gerald Mason

In a year that could best be described as a neverending stream of WTFs, we have a bit of good news: the Charlie Brown holiday specials are back

Traditions run strong this time of year; from sneaky little elves to quirky sugar cookies. Earlier this month, holiday spirits dipped when Apple TV+ announced the Charlie Brown classics would air exclusively on their app. Even though the internet argues over everything from who gets to wear dresses to the color of ugly dresses, there’s one thing we can all rally around: don’t mess with Charlie Brown.

The 1965 animated classic, a tradition in many households, is based on the comics created by Charles M. Schulz. The feel-good special has aired on network television every holiday season for the last five decades, a free gift for the people. The optimistic show follows the Peanuts crew as they realize the true meaning of Christmas. Until 2000, the Peanuts specials lived on your grandmother’s favorite channel, CBS. In 2001, ABC bought the rights to the franchise.

In October of this year, news broke that Apple TV+ claimed the rights to all Peanuts holiday specials. After the announcement, the legendary Peanuts Halloween special, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, was not shown on network television for the first time in 54 years.

In a year that brought a change in the way we travel, work, and go to school, losing Charlie Brown was a dealbreaker. Masks in public? Gotcha. Hand sanitizer a bajillion times a day? No problem. Taking away a little bit of holiday cheer in a time when we need it the most? Sir, you better start running now, because if this trouble catches up with you, then it’s not gonna let go of you.

A petition on Change.org to bring back the special has more than 250,000 signatures as of this writing. Following the uproar, Apple TV+ teamed up with PBS and PBS Kids in November to air the specials on network television again — with just enough time for A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving to air.

Thanksgiving at home? Check. Zoom call with the fam to wish everyone a happy holiday? Yep. Charlie Brown on TV? You better believe it.

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and A Charlie Brown Christmas will run in ad-free broadcasts on PBS and PBS Kids on November 22 at 7:30 EST and December 13, respectively. The specials will also be available for free, briefly, on Apple TV+ for non-subscribers, as well. On AppleTV+, the Thanksgiving special will be available for free between November 25th and 27th and the Christmas episode will do the same between December 11th and 13th.