ABC has finally announced a broadcast date for A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. It will air Thursday, November 24, 2011 from 8:00-9:00 PM (Eastern/Pacific) on ABC. As before, the classic special will air unedited, and be followed by a shortened version of This is America, Charlie Brown: The Mayflower Voyagers.
Since FOX previously announced that they'll be showing the new Peanuts special Happiness is a Warm Blanket from 8:30-9:30, unfortunately this means that two Peanuts specials will be airing in overlapping time slots on Thanksgiving evening. What's a fan do to?
First, you could (and perhaps should) tune into Happiness is a Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown when it starts at 8:30. Happiness is a Warm Blanket is really quite good, and strong ratings for it may encourage the production of more new Peanuts TV specials. Plus, Happiness is a Warm Blanket is new, whereas it's probably a safe bet that you've seen A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving before - and you can catch it next year (or watch it on DVD or most likely hulu.com).
Or, you could quickly switch over to Happiness is a Warm Blanket as soon as A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving finishes. Even though Thanksgiving is listed as running from 8:00-9:00 PM, really the special will only be on air until about 8:32 PM (then there's a commercial break and The Mayflower Voyagers). So you'd only miss the first few minutes of Happiness is a Warm Blanket... but those minutes set the scene for the show and are worth watching.
Finally, Happiness is a Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown will be repeated on Friday December 16, 2011 on FOX, so there will be another chance to catch it in its entirety... but FOX will probably pay more attention to the ratings for the first broadcast.
Despite the misfortune of both specials airing on the same night, Peanuts fans should count themselves lucky to have two different specials on broadcast TV to choose from. The fact that one special was made in 1974 and the other was made 37 years later, in 2011, is a testament to the staying power of the Peanuts gang.