A ‘Billions’ character had a heart attack post-Peloton ride. Peloton is not happy about it

Mark Seliger
·3 min read

Warning: This article contains spoilers for the sixth season of “Billions” and the “Sex and the City” reboot “And Just Like That...”

“Billions” became the latest show on Sunday to have a character experience a heart attack after a Peloton ride.

And the brand is not happy.

In the drama’s sixth season premiere, Mike “Wags” Wagner, played by David Costabile, experiences a minor heart attack while riding his Peloton spin bike.

The episode comes over a month after the “Sex and the City” reboot “And Just Like That...” shocked fans with the death of John James Preston, also known as “Big,” the husband of beloved scribe Carrie Bradshaw. He suffers a heart attack after a Peloton ride with a fictional instructor named Allegra (played by real Peloton instructor Jess King).

However, unlike in “And Just Like That...” Wags survives the ride. “I’m not going out like Mr. Big,” he says in the episode, referring to the “Sex and the City” reboot.

The episode was written and shot last spring. However, the showrunners said they went back and added the line referencing Mr. Big.

After “And Just Like That...” aired, “our phones blew up from everyone on the show texting each other,” “Billions” producer and co-creator Brian Koppelman told USA Today. “So all we did different was add one line.”

“It would be completely out of our character not to take a swing,” executive producer Beth Schacter told the publication, regarding the adding of the line. “It’s too good. We’re going to make the joke.”

Showtime told NBC News that the network has no comment.

In a tweet responding to the episode on Sunday, Peloton said it did not provide equipment for the show, nor did it know its brand would be used.

“We get TV shows want to include @onepeloton to get people talking, but to be clear, we did *not* agree for our brand or IP to be used on @SHO_Billions or provide any equipment,” the brand wrote. “As the show itself points out, cardio-vascular exercise helps people lead long, happy lives.”

When asked for further comment, a Peloton spokesperson issued a statement similar to the tweet.

“We get why these fictional TV shows would want to include a brand that people love to talk about, but Showtime’s use of Peloton’s Bike+ and reference to a Peloton Instructor was not a brand, product, or instructor placement, and we did not agree for our brand and IP to be used on this show or provide any equipment. As referenced by the show itself, there are strong benefits of cardio-vascular exercise to help people lead long, happy lives.”

The statement is a stark contrast to Peloton’s more playful response to the HBO Max “Sex and the City” reboot in December.

At the time, Denise Kelly, a Peloton spokesperson, confirmed that the company approved King’s portrayal of a fictional instructor in the episode. However, “due to confidentiality reasons, HBO did not disclose the broader context surrounding the scene to Peloton in advance,” Kelly said.

The exercise media and equipment company then pulled together a spot featuring none other than actor Chris Noth, who played Mr. Big, and instructor King. “And just like that... he’s alive,” the company tweeted. The ad was quickly removed after sexual assault allegations were made against the actor by two women who came forward to The Hollywood Reporter. The actor has denied allegations.

Peloton on Thursday reported preliminary quarterly results and said the number of connected fitness subscribers will fall short of expectations, CNBC reported. The stock closed at $27.06, below its $29 IPO price from 2019.

This story first appeared on NBCNews.com.

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