The ABC Television Network proudly announced today that it has extended its relationship with the popular "Peanuts" animated specials by Charles M. Schulz in a deal with Peanuts Worldwide LLC and Lee Mendelson Film Productions until 2020. The beloved Emmy Award-winning specials created by Charles M. Schulz and produced and animated by Lee Mendelson and Bill Melendez began airing on ABC in December 2001. The "Peanuts" animated holiday specials include "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving," "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown," and the iconic "A Charlie Brown Christmas," which first aired on television in 1965, and will celebrate its 50th anniversary in the coming year.
"We are thrilled that our 13 year association with ABC will now extend to 20 years. The network has shown us tremendous support from the start, including restoring the original length to our holiday shows. Charlie Brown and Snoopy are dancing today!," said executive producer Mendelson.
Since moving to ABC 12 years ago, the specials have continually delivered stellar ratings for the network. Last year, hitting a season high in its time period, ABC's annual rebroadcast of "A Charlie Brown Christmas" won the 8 o'clock hour in Adults 18-49 (2.9/8), beating the first hour of Fox's "The X Factor" by 4 percent (2.8/8), CBS' "Survivor: Philippines" by 7 percent (2.7/8) and NBC's "Christmas at Rockefeller Center" special by 38 percent (2.1/6). The "Peanuts" special was up year-to-year in Adults 18-49 (4 percent), and scored its best number in three years - since 12/8/09. Wednesday's No. 1 TV show with Kids 2-11 (4.1/13), the animated "Peanuts" special scored ABC's highest rating in the time slot in five years - since 12/5/07.
On Oct. 2, 1950, the "Peanuts" comic strip launched in seven American newspapers. Since then, "Peanuts" animated specials have become a seasonal tradition. Charlie Brown kicking the football, Linus and his blanket, and Lucy leaning over Schroeder's piano are images to which everyone can relate. Such phrases as "Security Blanket" and "Good Grief" have become a part of the global vernacular. Mendelson's and Melendez's association with Schulz stretches back to 1965 with "A Charlie Brown Christmas." The three men continued their long-term association until Schulz's death, working together on 50 "Peanuts" network specials and four feature films. The network specials won five Emmys, two Peabodys and 18 other Emmy nominations.