Trio of Charlie Brown Holiday Specials Returning to Free TV This Year

HIdden within Apple’s recent announcement of a new Charlie Brown special was a bit of good news: the trio of holiday specials starring the Peanuts gang will once again air for free on PBS this year.

That’s right: you won’t need to subscribe to the Apple TV+ streaming service to see “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,” “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” and “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” You can instead catch them on your local PBS affiliate.

The new Charlie Brown holiday special, “For Auld Lang Syne,” will debut on Apple TV+ on Dec. 10.

If you don’t remember last year — and considering all of … <waves hands in general> … this, who could blame you? — Apple struck a deal in October 2020 with Peanuts Worldwide and Lee Mendelson Film Productions to make all the Peanuts specials exclusive to the Apple TV+ streaming service.

The public reaction was … not good. Sensing the blowback, Apple quickly backtracked and struck a deal with PBS to air the holiday specials. Unfortunately for fans, the deal wasn’t reached in time to allow “Great Pumpkin” to air, meaning 2021 will be the first time it’s aired for free in two years.

All three specials are currently available on Apple TV+, as well as more Peanuts specials and a new documentary about cartoonist Charles M. Schulz.

“For Auld Lang Syne” will be the first new holiday special created for the streaming service since Peanuts moved to it.

The three Peanuts specials called ABC home from 2001 through 2019. Before that, CBS had been the broadcast home of the Peanuts specials since the debut of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” in 1965, permanently linking the sound of its “CBS Special Presentation” intro with Charlie Brown in the brains of many members of Gen X for the rest of their lives.

This article was written by Channing King from The Indianapolis Star and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the Industry Dive publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to