A holiday classic will not air on network television this year

By Matthew Rutherford
December 9, 2020

"A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving". Photo from Creative Commons.
"A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving". Photo from Creative Commons.
“A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving”. Photo from Creative Commons.

What once was a tradition for many, has been taken over by streaming services. “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” will not air on ABC this year like it usually does around Thanksgiving. However, it will be available to watch on Apple TV+.

“I mean it kind of sucks that it’s on Apple TV,” Jaclyn Ferrilli, sophomore mathematics and secondary education major, said. “And I probably won’t watch it this year because it won’t be shown on regular TV.”

Many students were sad to hear the news, but it does not come as a surprise. “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” was also shown exclusively on Apple TV. There is good news though for non-subscribers to the service. The Thanksgiving special will be available to watch for free, without a subscription, for a few select days. From Nov. 25 – Nov. 27, you can watch the special at no cost, all you need to do is have the Apple TV+ app downloaded on a device. The Peanuts gang will be available to subscribers beginning a week earlier on Nov. 18.

“I didn’t know it was only on Apple TV this year,” Caroline Boileau, junior criminology and sociology major, said. “That makes me sad because I really enjoy watching this.”

Boileau and Ferrilli are just a couple of the thousands of upset fans. There is a petition on change.org to get Peanuts specials back on network television. As of Nov. 11, the petition had gathered over 257,000 signatures. They are nearing the goal of 300,000 signatures. The petition was started by a user named Michael Nebbia and it is to WildBrain Studios and Apple.

Some fans are not sad, but angry. “I think that it’s wrong for the people who don’t have Apple TV,” DJ Fragano III, freshman biology major, said. “It’s a family tradition.”

The special first aired on CBS on Nov. 20, 1973, and continued to air every year on that network (skipping 1982, 1983 and 1988) until Nov. 23, 1989. The Disney Channel and Nickelodeon revived the special for reairing in the 1990s and then, in 2001, it moved, along with the rest of the Peanuts specials, to ABC. In contrast to CBS, ABC aired the special every year through 2019, on various days in the week leading up to Thanksgiving. As the special runs slightly over a half-hour with commercials, ABC typically fills the remaining portion of the full hour with other Peanuts programming. Since 2008, the remaining time has been filled by a slightly abridged edit of “The Mayflower Voyagers,” the premiere episode of the 1988 miniseries “This Is America, Charlie Brown.”

Charlie Brown attempting to kick the football “straight to the moon.” Photo from Creative Commons

Charlie Brown opens the classic with Lucy again enticing him to kick a football she is holding – which again ends up with Charlie Brown missing the ball and landing flat on his back once again. Later, Charlie Brown and Sally are preparing to go to their grandmother’s for Thanksgiving dinner when Charlie Brown gets a phone call from Peppermint Patty, who invites herself over to Charlie Brown’s house for the holiday dinner.

Two quick subsequent phone calls from Peppermint Patty add Marcie and Franklin to the guest list, but since Charlie Brown cannot get a word in edgewise with Patty, he quickly finds himself in a quandary with no easy solution, at least not until Linus shows up. Linus suggests to Charlie Brown that he could have two Thanksgiving dinners. It’s revealed that the first one can be for himself, Peppermint Patty, and her friends, while the second one can be at his grandmother’s house for his family. Charlie Brown says he cannot make a Thanksgiving dinner. He says that all he knows how to make is “cold cereal and maybe toast.” Regardless, Linus recruits Snoopy and Woodstock to help.

The classic will be dearly missed this year to many of the specials fans. While Apple holds the rights to air the special, one can only hope that they find a change of heart to put the special back on network television.

Peanuts Charlie Brown Macy's Thanksgiving Eve Parade - Balloon Blowup 5068“Peanuts Charlie Brown Macy’s Thanksgiving Eve Parade – Balloon Blowup 5068” by Brechtbug is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Matthew Rutherford

Scroll to Top
Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap