IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Charlie Brown fans upset over 'Peanuts' holiday specials moving exclusively to Apple TV+

Though Apple will provide limited free access, many are disappointed the animated classics won't be broadcast on television for the first time since the '60s.
Image: \"A Charlie Brown Christmas\"
Charlie Brown and Linus appear in a scene from "A Charlie Brown Christmas," a television special based on the "Peanuts" comic strip by Charles M. Schulz.Charles M. Schultz / ABC TV via AP file

Fans of the classic “Peanuts” comic-strip are expressing outrage over the fact that the quintessential animated holiday specials based on the series have moved to the Apple TV+ streaming service instead of airing on network television.

The beloved holiday specials, which include “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” and “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” will be available exclusively on the platform along with new specials in development, Apple TV+ announced Monday. The classic Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas specials will still be available for free during short windows of time around the holidays.

Charles M. Schulz’s “Peanuts” specials have aired on broadcast television since the 1960s, with ABC owning the rights since about 2000. Apple bought the rights in 2018, according to the The Hollywood Reporter.

The popularity of the beloved characters — such as Snoopy, Charlie Brown and Peppermint Patty — have spanned generations in large part due to the annual specials.

But despite the limited free access to the content, many fans took to social media and shared their distaste for the move, with some noting that many families do not have access to streaming. Others felt the move ended a beloved, shared American tradition.

“The point of having them on network TV is the country coming together and watching at the same time. That’s being taken from us,” one Twitter user wrote. “The Peanuts specials are one of the very FEW things that brings US together.”

As the coronavirus pandemic has uprooted daily life, with millions of people across the world working and learning at home, people have noted the digital divide for low-income homes. Many low-income families have limited access to high-quality internet or laptops for each member of the home.

An Apple TV+ subscription costs $4.99 per month, though many have received free yearlong trials through Apple purchases since the platform launched last year. The application to play programs on the subscription service typically requires either an Apple device, a smart television, or a streaming device that plugs into televisions, such as a Roku.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment from NBC News Wednesday.