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Wednesday May 9, 11:57 am Eastern Time

All-new Charlie Brown Valentine's Day Special to Premiere On ABC

NEW YORK--(ENTERTAINMENT WIRE)--May 9, 2001-- New special based on Schulz's famed strip and longtime stalwarts "A Charlie Brown Christmas," "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving," and "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" will air on ABC beginning this October.

United Media, one of the largest character licensing companies in the world, today announced that the ABC network has picked up an all new PEANUTS Valentine's Day special for broadcast in February 2002.

Produced and animated by the same team as past PEANUTS specials, Lee Mendelson and Bill Melendez, the story is taken directly from Charles M. Schulz's famed strip. In addition, "A Charlie Brown Christmas," "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving," and "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown," will also make their debut on ABC in October.

The PEANUTS Valentine's Day special is the first newly created television programming from the PEANUTS team in over eight years. Since 1965, Schulz, Mendelson, and Melendez created a library of over 63 primetime and direct-to-video specials and series. The Valentine's Day special marks the first new programming created since Schulz's death in 2000. Taken directly from the vast amount of archived strips that Schulz themed to the popular February holiday, Lee Mendelson will executive produce and Bill Melendez will produce and direct.

"We are extremely excited to be partnering with the creative team of Mendelson and Melendez once again," said Charles Schulz's son Craig Schulz. "My father's strip is a wealth of meaningful themes and stories, and there is no one better to continue the tradition of producing these wonderful specials than the original team he worked with for 35 years. ABC, a network known for its excellence in family programming, is the perfect home for these classic works, as well as ones to come."

The three stalwarts of primetime television specials, "A Charlie Brown Christmas," "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving," and "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" will make their debut on ABC this October. ABC made the announcement on the heels of the Christmas episode's phenomenal success on CBS last year, in which a second primetime broadcast was added on Christmas night. Over the past four decades, the extensive library of PEANUTS animation has received five Emmy and two Peabody awards. It has also received one Academy Award nomination, three Grammy nominations, and fifteen additional Emmy nominations.

PEANUTS focuses on the anxieties and joys of childhood as expressed by an ensemble cast of children who often seem wise beyond their years. Among them are the lovable Charlie Brown, who perseveres despite continuous failure; the philosophical, blanket-carrying Linus; the fussbudget Lucy, who dispenses psychological advice for a nickel from behind a concession stand; and toy-piano virtuoso Schroeder. Central to the comic strip is Charlie Brown's dog, Snoopy, who first stood on his hind legs in 1958 and became extremely popular for his imaginative adventures as a number of characters.

Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1922, Charles M. Schulz began his fascination with comic strips early, reading the Sunday comics from four different newspapers with his father each week. With encouragement from his parents, Schulz enrolled in a correspondence course in cartooning. PEANUTS debuted in syndication on October 2, 1950 and nearly all the 2,600 newspapers that published the strip before Schulz retired continue to publish classic PEANUTS comic strips today. On February 12, 2000, Charles M. Schulz died in Santa Rosa, California of complications from colon cancer, only hours before his last original PEANUTS strip appeared in Sunday papers.

About Lee Mendelson (Executive Producer)

Lee Mendelson's association with Charles Schulz stretches back to 1963, when he approached the cartoon strip creator about bringing the PEANUTS gang to television. Mendelson had recently produced the well-received documentary on baseball great Willie Mays titled "A Man Called Mays" and thought it would be interesting to produce something on a less successful athlete, Charlie Brown. Schulz agreed, and the result was "A Charlie Brown Christmas," which debuted on CBS in 1965, with Mendelson as Executive Producer. The two men continued their long-term association until Schulz's death, working together on the numerous television programs and specials featuring the PEANUTS characters.

About Bill Melendez (Producer and Director)

Bill Melendez began his animation career in 1938, when he was hired by Walt Disney to work on such projects as Fantasia, Pinocchio, Bambi, and Dumbo. From there, he signed with Leon Schlesinger Cartoons (later Warner Bros.), animating some of the most memorable short subject pieces featuring Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and Porky Pig. In addition to his work on PEANUTS, Melendez has animated numerous other characters including Cathy and Frosty the Snowman. The recipient of numerous awards, Melendez began his association with Charles Schulz in 1965, when he produced and directed "A Charlie Brown Christmas."

About United Media

PEANUTS is licensed and syndicated by United Media. United Media (UM) is a worldwide licensing and syndication company that focuses on building brand equity around a wide range of creative content. UM recently partnered with Copyrights Group Limited to handle its portfolio of characters, including the World of Beatrix Potter, Maisy, Spot, and Paddington Bear. It also signed to represent Precious Moments. UM licenses and/or syndicates other properties, including Dilbert, Nancy and Sluggo, MIFFY, Raggedy Ann & Andy, and Rainbow Fish. United Media is a wholly owned subsidiary of The E.W. Scripps Company.

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