Apple is producing new content about Snoopy and other Peanuts characters

Apple has signed a deal with DHX Media that will see the Canadian broadcaster producing new shows, specials and short films about Snoopy, Charlie Brown and the rest of the Peanuts gang. That includes exclusive short-form content for Apple starring astronaut Snoopy, aimed at getting kids excited about STEM.

Peanuts was created by Charles Schulz, who wrote and illustrated the popular comic strip for five decades, starting in 1950. The characters moved to television in the 1960s with “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” which was followed by a long list of specials. And they recently returned to the big screen in the computer animated “Peanuts Movie,” which grossed $246 million worldwide.

DHX acquired a controlling stake in Peanuts last year (the remaining 20 percent stake is still held by the Schulz family).

Apple, meanwhile, has been lining up lots of new, family-friendly content for its upcoming streaming service. That includes also enlisting Sesame Workshop to create original programming (not Sesame Street, which recently moved to HBO).

By the way, if you only know Peanuts secondhand, through Snoopy dolls or other merchandise, it’s worth revisiting the early strips (restored to print by Fantagraphics), which are among the finest you’ll ever read. There, you can fully appreciate Schulz’s art, as well as his ability to craft unforgettable jokes from Charlie Brown’s bleak outlook and constant heartbreak.

Facebook restructures Building 8, separating projects into Reality Labs and Portal groups

Facebook is restructuring its experimental hardware efforts and giving its moonshot projects a home within its AR/VR research division. The restructuring, reported by Business Insider (paywalled), didn’t result in any layoffs but did see some shifts of teams as the old Building 8 group rebranded to Portal and some projects moved to the former Oculus Research group (now, Facebook Reality Lab).

A Facebook spokesperson confirmed the reorganization to Business Insider. TechCrunch has reached out to Facebook for further comment.

The Building 8 brand is dead but the big change seems to be Facebook moving its more headline-grabbing experiments further away from its nearly ready-for-production ideas.

With some of the more experimental hardware projects at Facebook — like a computer brain interface, “soft” robotics and a project to “hear” through a skin-worn device — moving to Facebook Reality Labs, it’s clear that the organization once centered around AR/VR technologies is seeing its scope expand to more distant-reaching technologies that aren’t vaguely ready for consumer products yet.

Meanwhile, the Portal group seems to be where some of Facebook’s more in-reach consumer hardware products are living, with the newly released video chat device serving as the foundation. The leader of Building 8, Rafa Camargo, who took over after the departure of Regina Dugan, is the VP of the Portal team now.

Meanwhile, Facebook Reality Labs is still led by Michael Abrash, who has long held a senior presence in the company’s AR/VR ambitions.

Having products like Portal that are already for sale fall under the same leadership as invasive brain chips research probably didn’t make a ton of organizational sense, especially when Facebook has already gone to lengths to separate projects focused on immediate product needs compared to ones that are more far-out in other areas of the company. Facebook’s hardware ambitions are nascent, but now that they have a product on shelves, it’s probably more clear that there are some completely different leadership needs and an organizational restructure makes sense.