'Charlie Brown Christmas' Special Won't Air on ABC This Year

With Dec. 1 here, that means households across the country will be actively searching their television guides to figure out their holiday viewing schedules. For those looking to watch A Charlie Brown Christmas, disappointment may set over. That’s because the classic special will not be airing on ABC this year as it had since 2000 when the rights switched over from CBS.

Instead, fans of the Peanuts special will have to watch it on Apple TV+. Back in October, Apple acquired the rights to the show. With the timing of it, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving was able to air on last time on network television, but that, too, will eventually be switching over to Apple. Those who don’t have Apple TV+ will be able to watch for free from Dec. 11-13 as part of an agreement made between the Peanuts and Apple. PBS also was able to reach an agreement with PBS to air an ad-free version of the Christmas special on Dec. 13. A similar free viewing timeframe will also be available for the other Charlie Brown specials, including It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. This year the special will be celebrating its 55th anniversary.

A Charlie Brown Christmas, which premiered in 1965, follows the title character as he deals with a bout of feeling lonely on the holidays. He gets some advice from his sister, Lucy, who suggests he tries to get into the Christmas spirit by directing the school play. He follows through with this plan as the cast of characters take part in practices to have Brown’s vision come to fruition. This doesn’t go as planned as the leading man eventually comes to understand what the holiday season is all about thanks to a talk with his best friend, Linus. The 25-minute special features some iconic Christmas songs, including “Linus and Lucy” and “Christmas Time is Here.”

While A Charlie Brown Christmas won’t be airing on network television, viewers will have plenty of others options. As early as Tuesday night, CBS will be showing Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer, and it will also be airing as part of Freeform’s “25 Days of Christmas” programming. Frosty the Snowman and Frosty Returns would both air on CBS on Dec. 12. ABC will get involved with some specials, as well, including Shrek The Halls on Dec. 18 and the debut of its original holiday series, The Great Christmas Light Fight, on Dec. 9.