The holidays are saved, Charlie Brown! Well, kind of.
Apple recently snapped up exclusive streaming rights for the iconic Peanuts specials for Apple TV+—including “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving”—with Apple TV offering the specials for free for three-day periods around their respective holidays. But viewers would still need the Apple TV app to view them, and that app is not yet universally available on all streaming platforms and devices. It was to be the first year that the specials wouldn’t air on broadcast television as they have for decades.
Today, however, Apple announced that it partnered with PBS to air the Thanksgiving and Christmas specials ad-free on both PBS and PBS Kids in the weeks ahead. The companies said that “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” will air on the channels on Nov. 22 at 7:30 p.m. local time (6:30 p.m. CT), while “A Charlie Brown Christmas” will air on Dec. 13 at 7:30 p.m. local time (6:30 p.m. CT).
Non-Apple TV+ subscribers with access to the Apple TV app will be able to stream the specials for free from Nov. 25-27 and Dec. 11-13, respectively. Apple TV+ subscribers, meanwhile, will be able to stream both a week earlier.
Prior to today’s announcement that the specials would, in fact, air on broadcast TV, a Change.org petition asking Apple to make the specials available outside its own platform had managed to amass more than 262,000 signatures. It’s not clear whether the decision to partner with PBS was part of the original agreement about rights to the specials, but it was not mentioned in an Apple press release about them from October.
In any event, it looks like broadcast TV viewers will get their Charlie Brown holiday specials after all. At least we’ll have something to look forward to as we Zoom with family from our respective homes.