Why 'A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving' Didn't Air on TV This Year

ABC and PBS had aired the 'Peanuts' special in years past.

TV watchers might have noticed a key holiday special missing in 2023. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving didn't air on broadcast TV this year. Many will remember that the Peanuts special aired on ABC for many years, as well as on PBS. However, digital antenna and cable watcher couldn't see the special unless they had an AppleTV+ subscription.

Apple acquired the rights to the Peanuts holiday specials several years ago and have gradually been trying to lure viewers over to the Apple TV+ app each holiday season. In previous years, the specials still broadcast on TV channels like PBS but "in partnership" with Apple. Starting in 2022, the specials were only available on Apple TV+ with a scheduled window when anyone could watch them for free. That has been the case again this year – first with It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and now with A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.

Still, finding these specials is undeniably harder than it was before when they aired like clockwork on a broadcast TV channel. To watch the Thanksgiving special, users must still create an account – something that can take several frustrating minutes on a TV device like an Apple TV, Amazon Prime Fire Stick or Roku. It would be best to take care of this on a phone or computer so that you can simply sign in on your larger screen.

Apple TV+ offers a seven-day free trial for new users regardless, so they will get access to the streamer's entire library. That includes originals and some licensed content. Apple has the entire Peanuts library there including all of the holiday specials, so you can stream them year-round at your leisure. After the trial period ends, Apple TV+ costs $9.99 per month, or $99.99 per year for an annual plan. You can also get the service for free for three months with the purchase of any new Apple device.

Fans may want to prepare themselves now for a similar experience when it comes to A Charlie Brown Christmas. That special also will not be airing on any broadcast or cable channels, but Apple will be streaming it for free in a window. The period for that will be Dec. 16 through Dec. 17. Again, simply having the app and an account will do the trick – no subscription is necessary.