Charlie Brown Thanksgiving special gets taken off network TV


Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

Iconic Thanksgiving feast scene from “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” special

The 1973  “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” will not air on network television for the 2022 Thanksgiving, but can instead be found only on Apple TV+. Although this breaks the tradition of the film previously airing on network TV, the special is available for free to Apple TV+ subscribers at any time, as well as to non-Apple TV+ subscribers from November 23 to 27. This is also true for other Peanuts-related films, such as the Halloween and Christmas specials.

It was confirmed by PBS that they no longer hold the rights to issue the Thanksgiving special this year, as well as any other Peanuts-related films. Apple TV+ holds the right to broadcast this entertainment and will release the content to non-subscribers of Apple TV+ during the holiday seasons for only a limited time. Fans are not pleased with this change, as it breaks the tradition from previous years. Even with the special changing from CBS to ABC, and most recently to PBS, at least the film still aired on network television. 

For subscribers of Apple TV+, this change could be a positive outcome. Subscribers can watch any of the Charlie Brown specials on demand, at any time. For non-subscribers, these films will still be available for free when the holidays come around, which should not be a drastic change since the movies will still air when they would normally if on network television. 

The Charlie Brown films originated from the Peanuts comic strip created by Charles M. Schulz in the 1950s. The comic was seen in over 2,600 newspapers before his retirement in 1999. In 1974, “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” also earned two Emmy Award nominations, the Outstanding Individual Achievement in Children’s Programming and the Outstanding Children’s Special. Both of these award nominations occurred while the show aired on CBS, a year after it was first aired on November 20, 1973.