ABC today announced that it has extended its relationship with popular “PEANUTS” animated specials by Charles M. Schulz in a deal signed with Peanuts Worldwide LLC and Lee Mendelson Film Productions. The beloved Emmy Award-winning specials, including the iconic “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” and “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,” created by Charles M. Schulz and produced and animated by Lee Mendelson and Bill Melendez, began airing on ABC in December 2001.
This fall the famed “PEANUTS” comic strip will celebrate its 60th anniversary. The first and most well known of the beloved animated holiday specials, “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” first aired on television in 1965, making this year the 45th anniversary.
Since moving to ABC nine years ago, the specials have continually delivered stellar ratings for the Network. Against competition including the season finale of NBC’s “Biggest Loser,” ABC’s rebroadcast of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” finished a strong No. 2 in its half-hour in Adults 18-49 (3.7/11), beating slot-regular CBS’ “NCIS” replay by 37% (2.7/8) and Fox’s original “So You Think You Can Dance” by 61% in Adults 18-49 (2.3/7). The special towered over its slot with Kids 2-11, topping the combined delivery of CBS, Fox, NBC and CW in the half-hour by 42% (5.9/18 vs. 4.2/13), and finished as the No. 2 TV show of the night behind only its lead-out, ABC’s debut of “Prep & Landing.” Versus the year-ago night with original programming (“AFV” special on 12/9/08), “A Charlie Brown Christmas” boosted the time period year to year for ABC by 4.2 million viewers (11.2 million vs. 7.0 million) and by 95% in Adults 18-49 (3.7/11 vs. 1.9/5). The “PEANUTS” special was up year to year in Total Viewers and held even with Adults 18-49 (11.0 million and 3.7/10 on 12/8/08).
On October 2, 1950 the “PEANUTS” comic strip launched in seven American newspapers. Nearly 60 years later, the comic strip appears in over 2,200 newspapers, in 75 countries and 21 languages. “PEANUTS” animated specials have become a seasonal tradition, and thousands of consumer products are available in virtually all retail channels. Charlie Brown kicking the football, Linus and his blanket and Lucy leaning over Schroeder’s piano are images that everyone can relate to, while phrases like “Security Blanket” and “Good Grief” have become a part of the global vernacular.