'A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving' Leaves Network TV For The First Time In Decades: Here's How To Watch For Free

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving won't air on ABC for the first time in nearly 20 years. The classic TV special has aired on the network every year since 2001, and before that, it was a CBS mainstay for decades.

For 2020, the animated holiday special starring the Peanuts gang has moved online to Apple TV+ as part of a corporate deal, according to the Detroit Free Press. It joins It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and A Charlie Brown Christmas as part of the platform's deal for exclusive rights to the cartoon classics.

On social media, fans of the Peanuts specials reacted to the news that A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving won't air on network television and will only be available on Apple TV+.

"This is so sad! Corporate greed is ruining our traditions," one viewer tweeted.

"Oh man, this is a bummer. Come on 2020," another wrote on Twitter.

Other viewers scrambled to reserve a DVD copy of the program so they can watch it at home.

"Charlie Brown Thanksgiving cartoon won't b on TV this year... It just ain't Thanksgiving until I c Snoopy wrestle the lounge chair, so I looked 4 the DVD @ the library. There r already 12 holds," a third user tweeted.

The Charlie Brown Balloon floats behind the turkey during the 90th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on November 24, 2016 in New York City.
Getty Images | Michael Loccisano

Luckily, the Apple TV+ platform isn't leaving loyal viewers of the Charles M. Schulz holiday classic high and dry.

While subscribers can watch the Thanksgiving classic anytime, Apple TV+ will offer free streaming of A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving for non-subscribers for a three-day period, from November 25-27. Fans can watch the cartoon in a browser via Apple TV+ or they can download the Apple TV app on a phone or other device.

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving first aired on November 20, 1973, on CBS and scored an Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement - Children's Programming. It remained on the network for decades, minus a few years in the 1980s when it did not air. In 2001, the TV special moved to ABC where it ran every November – until now.

Longtime Peanuts fans are familiar with the story, which follows Charlie Brown as he plans a holiday meal with his pals. The well-meaning dinner party turns into a disaster after caterers Snoopy and Woodstock serve up a menu of toast, popcorn, pretzel sticks, and jelly beans.

The cast for A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving includes veteran child voice actors Todd Barbee as Charlie Brown, Robin Kohn as Lucy, Stephen Shea as Linus, Hilary Momberger as Sally, Robin Reed as Franklin, Christopher DeFaria as Peppermint Patty, and Jimmy Ahrens as Marcie. Producer Bill Melendez provided the "sounds" for mischievous beagle Snoopy and his bird sidekick, Woodstock.