It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown has been a Halloween tradition since it premiered in 1966.
But this year, for the first time after more than half a century of broadcast, viewers won’t be able to tune in to the classic cartoon on television.
As Charlie Brown himself would say, “Rats!”
The Halloween special featuring the Peanuts gang premiered on CBS back in 1966. ABC then became the main home of Great Pumpkin and all the other major Peanuts specials for the past 20 years, after swiping them from CBS in 2000.
Airing annually since its premiere, that’s more than a half-century of broadcasting!
It seems like nothing is sacred in 2020. This bizarro year doesn’t even get a Great Pumpkin broadcast.
Yeah, you heard me. After more than 50 years of gentle humor and quirkiness that is loved by both kids and adults alike, you won’t be seeing the Peanuts holiday special on ABC. Good Grief.
Don’t fret just yet. If you want to watch It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, there’s an app for that. The Peanuts gang will soon have an exclusive streaming home on Apple’s subscription-based platform, Apple TV+.
You won’t need to be a subscriber to watch it this season. Great Pumpkin will stream outside of the Apple TV+ paywall just in time for Halloween, from October 30 to November 1. This means that anyone, even viewers without an Apple TV+ account or device, will be able to watch the special. You’ll just need to download the Apple TV+ app, which is available on plenty of non-Apple platforms and devices.
If you do happen to be a subscriber, you can get ahead of everyone else in the Halloween festivities — Great Pumpkin began streaming Monday.
Peanuts specials not airing on a free broadcast network for the first time since the 60’s is kind of a big deal. This shift to streaming is another milestone moment in TV history.
I know it’s not the biggest deal in the world. And sure, it’s streaming for free! However, it’s just one more tradition being chipped away at by the internet and corporate deals.
I hate to tell you this, but other holiday specials featuring the Peanuts gang won’t broadcast this year either. So if you were hoping to watch A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving while dressing the turkey, or A Charlie Brown Christmas while unwrapping gifts, you won’t find either on regular TV.
Like It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, the other two holiday specials will be available on Apple TV+, too. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving will be free from November 25 until November 27 on the platform, while A Charlie Brown Christmas will be available for free from December 11 until December 13.
Apple also said that it is teaming with WildBrain, Peanuts Worldwide, and Lee Mendelson Film Productions to produce new Peanuts holiday specials. Yes, you read that correctly — NEW specials featuring the Peanuts gang, including New Year’s Eve, Mother’s Day, and Earth Day.
So, while we might be losing free, over-the-air broadcasts of the Peanuts gang, at least we might get some new programming out of the whole ordeal.