Charlie Brown and Linus Charlie Brown and Linus

Charlie Brown may decry the commercialization of the holidays, but there's no denying the continued popularity of his TV specials. A Charlie Brown Christmas returns to ABC Wednesday night (8/7c) for the first of two airings this month, and if the network's recent rebroadcasts of the Peanuts Halloween and Thanksgiving specials are any indication, it's sure to do well.

Nearly 50 years after A Charlie Brown Christmas first premiered on December 9, 1965, the special and its subsequent holiday brethren (including It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving) continue to be ratings hits in primetime.

Last Wednesday, ABC's annual repeat of A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving averaged 8 million viewers, up 37 percent from last year and posting the special's biggest audience in four years. In October, ABC's annual airing of Great Pumpkin posted its best ratings in three years, attracting 8 million viewers— up 8 percent over its 2011 telecast — and winning its half-hour with adults 18-49 and kids.

How A Charlie Brown Christmas Became a Holiday Tradition

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