If you want Peanuts, you’ll have to get them from Apple.
One of the most enduring staples of American culture are the Peanuts holiday specials: It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown for Halloween, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving for Thanksgiving, and A Charlie Brown Christmas for Christmas. Every year for decades, you could find these classic cartoon specials airing on public access in the 60s, then on CBS in the 90s, and then on ABC from 2001 onwards. Of course, considering what a big staple these specials are of the American holiday season, it shouldn’t be especially surprising that someone wants to get exclusive rights to them. Hey, it ain’t Christmas without a little commercialism.
Apple announced today that it has penned a formal partnership with WildBrain, Peanuts Worldwide and Lee Mendelson Film Productions to secure exclusive streaming rights for all of the Peanuts specials on Apple TV+. Now that Apple officially owns the rights, this means the specials will not be broadcast on any TV channel for the first time in nearly 60 years. If you want to watch, it’ll have to be Apple TV+ or nothing. Though, in an uplifting spot of holiday sportsmanship, Apple will allow non-subscribers to watch the specials for free during select periods.
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is already available on Apple TV+ and will be available for free viewing between October 30 and November 1. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving will be added to the service on November 18 and will be available for free viewing between November 25 and November 27. A Charlie Brown Christmas will be added to the service on December 4 and will be available for free viewing between December 11 and December 13 (rather conspicuously missing Christmas itself, but whatever). Outside of these periods, if you want to watch the specials, you’ll need to be an Apple TV+ subscriber.
The Peanuts acquisition is part of Apple’s current undertaking to secure exclusive rights for various holiday specials. According to rumors, they’ve already got candidates for Mother’s Day, Earth Day, and New Year’s Eve. Also back to school season, but that is definitely not a holiday.