happy holidays

Apple TV+ Says: Welcome, Great Pumpkin

Photo: United Feature Syndicate

Want to watch It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown this Halloween? Or A Charlie Brown Christmas? There’s an app for that— specifically Apple TV+. The classic Peanuts specials, which have aired on broadcast TV for decades, will soon have an exclusive streaming home on Apple’s subscription-based TV platform. What’s more, Apple said it is teaming with WildBrain, Peanuts Worldwide, and Lee Mendelson Film Productions to produce new Peanuts holiday specials, including Mother’s Day, Earth Day, and New Year’s Eve. As for whether or not viewers will still be able to watch the Peanuts gang on ABC, that wasn’t immediately clear — though a source familiar with the matter says the answer is no.

ABC has been the main home of Great Pumpkin and all the major Peanuts specials for the past 20 years, having snatched them away from their original home on CBS in 2000. But Great Pumpkin is not currently on ABC’s advance programming specials through early November, and while a network rep indicated that could change, it would be odd for ABC not to schedule the specials by now, unless there were contractual issues (such as ABC’s deal having expired). Apple’s official press release announcing its deal for the specials only specifies that TV+ would be home to the specials and says nothing about exclusivity. However, sources familiar with the deal say that the streamer will indeed have complete exclusivity — broadcast and streaming.

Peanuts specials not airing on a free, over-the-air broadcast network for the first time since the 1965 Christmas special debuted is another milestone moment in TV history. But perhaps in a nod to ensuring wide access, Apple is planning to make some of the classic specials free to all — even nonsubscribers — for a limited time. Great Pumpkin will stream outside of the TV+ paywall from October 30 through November 1, allowing anyone, even viewers without an Apple TV+ account or device, to watch. (The Apple TV+ app is available on numerous non-Apple platforms and devices.) Similarly, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving will debut on the Apple platform November 18 and stream for free from November 25 through November 27. Apple said A Charlie Brown Christmas will begin streaming on Apple TV+ on December 4, and will have a free window from December 11 to December 13.

Apple TV+ Says: Welcome, Great Pumpkin