Apple TV+ Nabs Rights for Classic Charlie Brown Holiday Specials and New Series


Good grief—classic Peanuts specials are leaving broadcast television and moving to Apple TV+ just in time for the holidays.   

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A deal between Apple TV+ and media company WildBrain, Peanuts Worldwide and Lee Mendelson Film Productions will make the subscription streaming service the home for the classics like It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and A Charlie Brown Christmas. These have previously aired on broadcast television, yielding considerable ratings.

The Peanuts gang’s Halloween special will begin streaming on the platform today and will be available for free to non-subscribers from Oct. 30 through Nov. 1. The other holiday-themed specials will arrive in the coming months, with A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving arriving on Nov. 18 and airing for free from Nov. 25 through Nov. 27. A Charlie Brown Christmas will debut on the streamer on Dec. 4 and will be available free to non-subscribers from Dec. 11 through Dec. 13.

The partnership, which is an expansion of Apple TV+’s earlier dabbling in Peanuts programming, means that new original series and specials will be coming to the streamer in the future, including specials celebrating New Year’s Eve, Earth Day, Mother’s Day and back-to-school season. The streamer ordered a second season of Snoopy in Space, which debuted in Apple TV+’s November 2019 launch and was nominated for Daytime Emmys. The streamer is also working on The Snoopy Show and a documentary film about the Peanuts gang.

Apple TV+’s acquisition of the Peanuts holiday specials, which according to Vulture is an exclusive deal, is a big coup for the streaming service, given that broadcast TV had for decades aired the specials to great success.

ABC has had the broadcast rights to the specials for the past 20 years. Last year, its airing of the It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown brought in 5 million viewers and a 1.2 demo rating. It’s a considerable showing, especially for an older title. Before that, CBS had the broadcast rights.

The specials mark the second licensing deal from Apple TV+, which has otherwise focused on original series only. In May, Apple TV+ made past seasons of HBO’s ’80s muppet series Fraggle Rock available on the service as part of a deal to reboot the series for the streamer.

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