CUPERTINO, CA — Blame Apple TV+ for the popular Charlie Brown series being axed from broadcast TV for this year’s holidays. For decades, "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,” “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving,” and “A Charlie Brown Christmas” have aired on one of the major TV networks or, in recent years, PBS.
Not this year.
Apple TV+, in an effort to bolster its streaming content, purchased the rights to Charlie Brown in 2020. Last year, 2021, was the final year of the license that allowed PBS to stream the holiday series.
Apple is not going full-on Grinch on us, however. Apple TV+ is streaming the ever-popular holiday Charlie Brown series for free, it announced. But, to watch Charlie Brown you will need to install the Apple TV+ app on your streaming device or smart TV. Instructions are here.
In October 2020, Apple TV+ made a deal with Peanuts Worldwide and Lee Mendelson Film Productions to be the sole owner of the Peanuts' holiday specials and own all rights to air them.
Since then, a slow burn campaign to #FreeCharlieBrown has existed on the Internet. There’s an old change.org petition that attracted just short of 300,000 electronic signatures to bring back the Charlie Brown shows on broadcast TV.
All of this garnered no response from Apple, however. Charlie Brown is now their guy and the streaming service is releasing new Charlie Brown movies like “It’s the Small Things, Charlie Brown,” that debuted on Earth Day, April 15, 2022, about Charlie Brown’s little sister saving a dandelion that sprouted on Charlie Brown’s pitcher’s mound. Traditionalists can fill in the blanks on what the underlying message of the show was.
The holiday Charlie Brown series will be streamed on Apple+ during the following dates:
- “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving,” streaming free from Nov. 23 through Nov. 27
- "A Charlie Brown Christmas,” streaming free from Dec. 22 through Dec. 25.
- “It’s a Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” was streamed for free in October.