Apple TV+ today began offering its first-ever seasonal programming on the new streaming service with the debut of two Christmas specials that cover both ends of the spectrum, from the much-beloved Charlie Brown Christmas holiday classic to an upbeat and contemporary musical special featuring Mariah Carey.
Among the legendary partnerships that Apple has been making for its streaming service is a landmark one with Canadian producer DHX Media, which controls rights to Charles Schultz’s Peanuts gang, and while the arrangement was originally focused on producing educational content such as Peanuts in Space, it expanded this past fall in an agreement with WildBrain and Less Mendelssohn Film Productions to make Apple TV+ the “home for all things Peanuts.”
A Charlie Brown Christmas
This includes classics such as It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and of course the venerable 1965 A Charlie Brown Christmas — the first-ever Peanuts television special that has become a regular holiday-season event that a great many families have grown up with.
In acknowledging the beloved nature of these classics, which have aired seasonally on broadcast television for generations, Apple promised to air them on Apple TV+ for free — to both subscribers and non-subscribers alike — for a limited time during the appropriate holiday seasons.
Unfortunately, the exclusive deal also saw Apple pulling the specials off the traditional broadcast channels, resulting in a hue and cry from many quarters who felt that Apple had “swiped the football” from them, since even though Apple would be broadcasting them for free on its own streaming service, not everybody has access to the technology necessary to enjoy the classic Charlie Brown specials. As a result, Apple announced a partnership with PBS to also broadcast the specials on the PBS and PBS Kids stations, albeit after their Apple TV+ debuts.
That said, actual Apple TV+ subscribers are still getting front-of-the-line treatment, since A Charlie Brown Christmas has already begun streaming on Apple TV+ today, but will only be available for free viewing from Dec 11–13, while it will air on PBS and PBS Kids one time only, on December 13th at 7:30 p.m. local time.
Of course, if you’re an adult who has never seen A Charlie Brown Christmas, chances are you don’t care that much about it, but for many people rewatching it every year is a holiday tradition that’s right up there with Christmas caroling, tree trimming, Nativity scenes, and eggnog.
Mariah Carey’s Magical Christmas Special
On the other end of the spectrum, however, Apple is offering up something entirely new and contemporary in the form of a “magical” — and naturally very musical — Christmas special hosted by none other than Mariah Carey.
Even if you’re not a fan of Mariah’s upbeat style, however, there’s a long list of other celebrities to draw your attention, including Tiffany Haddish, Billy Eichner, Ariana Grande, Jennifer Hudson, Snoop Dogg, Jermaine Dupri, Misty Copeland, and Mykal-Michelle Harris, along with Carey’s twins, Moroccan and Monroe.
Not surprisingly, however, it’s still going to an over-the-top Christmas fest, which shouldn’t be surprising coming from a pop star who has been billed as the undisputed “Queen of Christmas,” and you can expect lots of music, dancing, and even some groundbreaking animation.
Mariah Carey’s Magical Christmas Special is streaming now for Apple TV+ subscribers.
Apple’s Christmas Star
The special also coincides with a new companion soundtrack, including a single and music video of “Oh Santa” sung by Mariah Carey, Ariana Grande, and Jennifer Hudson, along with brand new interpretations of several other Christmas classics, including at least one by Snoop Dogg and Jermaine Dupri, and an all-new version of “Sleigh Ride.”
In fact, Apple is pulling out all of the stops in featuring Mariah Carey as its Christmas Star, including a new exclusive interview with Zane Lowe on December 7th where Carey will run through her personally curated playlist of favourite holiday songs and talk about her recent memoir, “The Meaning of Mariah Carey.”
This will all culminate in a six-hour Holiday Hits special on Apple’s new Apple Music Hits radio station on December 25th, in which Carey will appear to perform “All I Want for Christmas Is You” and share her own favourite holiday memories alongside other artists and hosts with their own Christmas messages.