On Sunday, a Peloton exercise bike almost took out another popular television character. During Showtime’s Season 6 premiere of Billions, Mike “Wags” Wagner (played by David Costabile) suffered a heart attack while riding the brand’s popular spin bike. Interestingly, this isn’t the first time a fictional person has had cardiac problems after working out.
The Billions scene comes less than two months after a similar one aired on Sex and the City epilogue series – And Just Like That. On that show, Mr. Big (portrayed by Chris Noth) dies from a heart attack after riding a Peloton bike. Fortunately, Wagner didn’t suffer the same fate. He survived and even referenced the Sex and the City revival, telling staff, “I’m not going out like Mr. Big.” While fans of popular drama series are relieved that Mike Wagner is all right, Peloton isn’t happy with the placement of their products.
In a statement obtained by Entertainment Weekly the New York-based company said they understand 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. Moreover, the company did not agree for their 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.
No one can blame Peloton for being unhappy. After their product’s guest spot in the premiere of And Just Like That, the brand suffered massive PR problems. The company also noticed a considerable drop in its stock after the episode aired. To counteract the damage, Peloton created a commercial with a healthy Chris Noth cozying up with his exercise instructor in front of a fire. Sadly the online advert was pulled a few days later after sexual assault allegations against the actor surfaced.
In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter Chris Noth denied both allegations, calling the accusations categorically false. The actor said the encounters were consensual, adding that he finds it difficult not to question the timing of these stories coming out. “I don’t know for certain why they are surfacing now, but I do know this – I did not assault these women,” he said. Shortly after, two more women came forward with similar allegations. After the story broke, A3 Artists Agency dropped Noth as a client. And the Sex and the City-themed Peloton advert was removed from the fitness company’s social media platforms.
Speaking about their decision to drop Chris Noth from their ad campaign, Peloton said every single sexual assault accusation must be taken very seriously. The company also reiterated that they were unaware of these allegations when they featured the television star in their response to HBO’s Sex and the City reboot. “As we seek to learn more, we have stopped promoting this video, and archived related social posts,” the statement said.
The Billions depiction of the Peloton bike is just the latest hiccup in a less than ideal month for the exercise equipment brand. The company’s shares saw a sharp drop last week after CNBC reported that they were temporarily halting production in February and March due to declining demand. More of Peloton’s Bike+ will only be manufactured in June, while the Tread+ will stop production for the entire year.