Peanuts holiday specials to return to TV thanks to PBS

After the Peanuts holiday specials moved from network TV to Apple TV+, shocking many fans, the gang is returning to TV, courtesy of PBS.

When the weather gets colder and the days get shorter, it’s time for the holiday season — and that means the tradition of Peanuts holiday specials. People were shocked when it was announced that the specials were moving away from network TV and heading exclusively to the Apple TV+ streaming service.

The Peanuts comic strip has been around since 1950, and its animated counterpart has been around since 1965 with the classic A Charlie Brown Christmas. Generations now have grown up with the likes of Charlie Brown, Linus, Lucy, Snoopy, and Woodstock through the years, following the adventures of the young children and iconic dog and bird.

The holiday specials have become traditions in many households, notably A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965), It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966), and A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (1973). According to NBC News, they have been on broadcast television since the 1960s, with families always knowing to tune in to ABC, which owned the rights to them since 2000.

In 2018, Apple bought the rights to the franchise. Since then, Apple has produced new and original Peanuts content, including the animated series, Snoopy in Space and the upcoming The Snoopy Show, which will be available in February. While additional Peanuts content was available on Apple TV+, people were still able to access the holiday specials during their respective seasons since the 2018 deal, until this past October.

When the move was announced, people were outraged. As shared by NBC News, frustrations from fans ranged everywhere from the fact that there is only one streaming option to see the specials now to the fact that being on regular television allowed for easier access for families to see the shows as opposed to streaming, which requires a broadband internet connection.

The Peanuts specials have been something for years that families across the nation could sit down and watch together at the same time in a way of uniting people over the love of such beloved classics, especially in an era of binge-watching and series being viewed at various paces where that concept of watching together seems to be almost all but gone.

The idea of something that has been a tradition in families for years possibly being gone or more difficult to access, especially in a year like 2020, helped to generate a petition that received 100,000 signatures to bring the specials back to TV.

To ease financial restrictions, Apple announced that each special would be available to be streamed for free when it came close to that special’s respective holiday. The first was It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, which was available for free from October 30 through November 1 on Apple TV+. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving would be available for free from November 25 until November 27 and A Charlie Brown Christmas from December 11 until December 13.

Unfortunately, if you do not have access to the Internet or a device in addition to your television that can play Apple TV+, it looks as if this may be the first year for some families that the tradition would be missed.

However, this doesn’t look to be the case anymore. While The Great Pumpkin wasn’t able to make it to TV this year for Halloween, the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and Christmas specials will return to television after Apple and PBS teamed up in a deal that will allow the Peanuts holiday specials to air on TV again, with the specials airing on both PBS and its sister channel, PBS Kids. The ad-free broadcast of A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving will be on Sunday, November 22 at 7:30 p.m. and A Charlie Brown Christmas will air on December 13 at 7:30 p.m.

While the specials will still be available on Apple TV+ and available for free during the limited time window, fans are happy and able to rejoice at the PBS news. It comes as a relief that more people will have the opportunity to be able to continue their family holiday traditions of viewing such classic specials. Time to insert the GIF of the Peanuts kids dancing at the Christmas play.

Are you happy the Peanuts holiday specials are returning to television this year? Tell us your favorite holiday special in the comments below!