No Great Pumpkin this year?

Adam Lenhardt

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The Set I have indicates the Distributor as Warner Brothers which made me wonder why HBO Max didnt have the rights ..But thats a Moot point now
While Warner Bros. holds (held?) the license for physical media distribution, Lee Mendelson Films holds the copyright for all animated Peanuts televised productions from "A Charlie Brown Christmas" in 1965 through "He's a Bully, Charlie Brown" in 2006. When none of the networks agreed to finance "A Charlie Brown Christmas", it was Lee Mendelson who convinced Coca-Cola to pay for it. His production company has been reaping the rewards ever since.

But apparently the Schulz estate inserted a provision into the deal with AppleTV+ requiring the streaming service to make the three specials that have aired like clockwork ever year on broadcast television -- "Great Pumpkin", "Thanksgiving", and "Christmas" -- available for free without an AppleTV+ subscription or even an Apple account in three-day windows each year.

For 2020, the free streaming windows will be:
  • "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown": October 30 through November 1
  • "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving": November 25 through November 27
  • "A Charlie Brown Christmas": December 11 to December 13
 

DVBRD

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But apparently the Schulz estate inserted a provision into the deal with AppleTV+ requiring the streaming service to make the three specials that have aired like clockwork ever year on broadcast television -- "Great Pumpkin", "Thanksgiving", and "Christmas" -- available for free without an AppleTV+ subscription or even an Apple account in three-day windows each year.

For 2020, the free streaming windows will be:
  • "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown": October 30 through November 1
  • "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving": November 25 through November 27
  • "A Charlie Brown Christmas": December 11 to December 13
Well, that gives me some comfort.
 
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darkrock17

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WB no longer owns Charlie Brown, it's current ownership is split 3 ways.

Currently, the rights to the Peanuts are shared by DHX Media, who owns 41%, Sony Music Entertainment, who owns 39%, and the Schulz family, who own 20%.
 

JackieT

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But at the end of the day you turn on or sub to A+ and watch all the Peanuts related shows you like.
 

Osato

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This is definitely weird.

On Monday, once I found out the specials were now going to be Apple exclusives, I bought the Blu ray 3-pack of Great Pumpkin, Thanksgiving and Christmas from Amazon, plus the DVD of Be My Valentine. I saw that Easter Beagle was on sale for $10 something and thought about throwing it in as well. But the $35 I spent on the ones I did get felt like enough for now, and Easter Beagle isn't as seminal to me personally as the others. So I thought, "Eh, I might get that one later."

When they came yesterday, the Blu-rays were fine. However, Valentine had a broken hub and the disc was loose inside the case. It will not say secure. So I set up an exchange and Amazon sent me a new copy which arrived today. Weirdly, that one is also defective. At least the disc is secure in the hub, but the top part of the case won't shut. This isn't as bad as the other, but since I haven't actually sent back the first one just yet, I thought I might as well try one more exchange and take back both copies at the same time.

When I went to the returns page, I noticed that Amazon was no longer offering a new copy of the same item. They are only offering for the money to be credited back to my original method of payment. I thought that seemed weird until I noticed something else. On the product detail pages, almost everything Peanuts is out of stock. The Blu-ray 3-pack I ordered; the UHD counterpart; plus the individual Blu-rays of Great Pumpkin, Thanksgiving, and Christmas; and the DVDs of Valentine and Easter Beagle, all suddenly gone. No longer available for order form Amazon at all, unless you want a used copy from a secondhand seller.

Now, this could mean one of two things: either they have had a surge of orders for Peanuts titles this week due to this news, which caused them to run out. If this is it, WB will surely supply them with more copies soon, and let's hope that is the case.

Or, here's the worse thing that popped into my head: possibly, the exclusivity deal with Apple might call for the discs (which are released through Warner Bros.) to be discontinued.I think that would be extreme, but as others have already noted the availability for a streaming purchase through Vudu and other services has suddenly disappeared. So it isn't completely impossible that the discs could be taken out of print as well, depending on how zealous Apple is about their exclusivity and what their contract says.

If the physical discs are indeed being taken out of print, that makes this whole situation even more unfortunate and depressing than it already was.

Due to Amazon's extended return period, I don't actually have to send back the original Valentine with the loose disc until February 1 of next year. If I don't, I would just be charged the same price I paid for it this week again. Even though the disc is loose, it still is a disc of the special. Maybe I should hang onto it for a little while to see what happens. If the discs are going to disappear from availability, it might be worth something to pay the $11 and change again to have an extra which might increase in value if they become hard to find. We'll see. I do have until February to decide.

I'm definitely keeping the second Valentine for myself and won't send it back for a refund, even though the case won't close.
I have many of the shows on disc but I have added them on iTunes too. Easter beagle and be my valentine are on 4K on iTunes too.

I also picked up a few of the films as well. I won’t part with my discs but I liked that some of the shows are on 4k in digital even if they are not in UHd Blu ray disc.
 

JackieT

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FYI

"Streaming media is multimedia that is constantly received by and presented to an end-user while being delivered by a provider. The verb to stream refers to the process of delivering or obtaining media in this manner.[clarification needed] Streaming refers to the delivery method of the medium, rather than the medium itself. Distinguishing delivery method from the media distributed applies specifically to telecommunications networks, as most of the delivery systems are either inherently streaming (e.g. radio, television, streaming apps) or inherently non-streaming (e.g. books, video cassettes, audio CDs). There are challenges with streaming content on the Internet. For example, users whose Internet connection lacks sufficient bandwidth may experience stops, lags, or slow buffering of the content. And users lacking compatible hardware or software systems may be unable to stream certain content."
 

Johnny Angell

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Just one more tradition bites the dust. It shouldn’t bother me since we always watch our discs of Peanuts and not broadcast, but it does. I’ll get used to it. And the next tradition that dies...and the next.
 
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Josh Steinberg

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I think a lot of similar traditions will be readjusted, as has been happening for some time. How many people with DVRs we’re watching live with commercials anyway? But yeah, the idea of everyone tuning in at the same arbitrary time to watch prerecorded content that could be viewed at any time is definitely winding down. But I hope we’ll still generally enjoy the same things in a similar window. It just might not specifically be Tuesday at 8pm or whatever.
 
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darkrock17

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Without those 3 Peanut specials, ABC is going to take a big dip in ratings; those 3 specials have always brought in big numbers with each airing and usually winning that nights primetime viewings across multiple stations and networks.
 
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JackieT

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Well I just watched it on Apple while eating my old school blue box of Kraft Mac and Cheese. Just like when I was a wee kid.
 

Josh Steinberg

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Without those 3 Peanut specials, ABC is going to take a big dip in ratings; those 3 specials have always brought in big numbers with each airing and usually winning that nights primetime viewings across multiple stations and networks.
Its actually the other way around. Live ratings have declined year after year, which has meant that advertisers aren’t as willing to spend as much on commercials during it, lowering the amount that ABC can reasonably be expected to spend for the rights to air it. At this point, while it may do well relative to other programming on today, its not worth as much to the advertisers and therefore not worth as much to the networks.

In an era where disc and streaming means you can watch this anytime, and DVR means you can fast forward through commercials, how many are left watching the commercials for a broadcast of this special that bring the network revenue?

It’s not good or bad. It’s just evolution. It’s not reasonable to expect everything to stay as it was 50 years ago when the technology and way we interact with it has changed so much.
 

Jake Lipson

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Without those 3 Peanut specials, ABC is going to take a big dip in ratings
Well, the advantage for ABC in this regard is that they didn't always air the specials on the same day/time every year. So it's not like we can look at one slot and say "This is the replacement for Great Pumpkin and it did less." As you noted, they are losing highly-rated programs. But they'll just have to come up with something else to air instead.

Fortunately, their scripted shows are finally starting to trickle back (the sitcoms started last night, and Grey's Anatomy will start on November 12), so they are about to get an infusion of new episodes that they might not normally have to this degree at this time in a normal year. So that's going to help.

I did notice that ABC is also declining to air Toy Story of Terror this year for the first time since it premiered in 2013. Now, obviously, the Toy Story special skipping a year is not nearly as big of a deal as Great Pumpkin moving to streaming. But I think what's going on is that they would often use Toy Story as a companion piece for Great Pumpkin. Since they don't have the rights to Great Pumpkin anymore, they are lacking a suitable Halloween-themed special to pair with Toy Story. I think they might have chosen not to air Toy Story because airing it would draw attention to the lack of Great Pumpkin next to it. That and they've got new episodes of their scripted shows coming in later this year than they would normally. So slotting Toy Story (which is often used along with Great Pumpkin to give one of their sitcoms a rest before November sweeps) isn't as important as it would be without COVID.
 

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