And just like that….another hit TV show casts Peloton in a bad light
Warning: Spoilers ahead for Showtime’s Billions.
A month after HBO’s And Just Like That… premiere killed off Mr. Big, the season 6 premiere of the popular Showtime drama Billions depicts its main character suffering a heart attack after riding his Peloton Bike.
The good news? Mike Wagner, a Billions main character played by David Costabile, recovers from his Peloton-related heart attack. The character even references Mr. Big’s unfortunate fate in the Sex and the City spinoff, saying, “I’m not going out like Mr. Big.”
The line was added in post-production, according to The New York Times, and was written months before Mr. Big’s tragic scene. According to NYT, show executives added the line because they thought it would be something Wagner would say.
The Billions season 6 premiere with the heart attack scene was slated for air on Sunday night but had a surprise release on Friday. The episode is available until April 10th and is listed on Showtime.com and on YouTube.
Last month, Peloton quickly engaged in a public relations campaign after HBO premiered And Just Like That…shocking viewers with Mr. Big’s Peloton-related death. The fitness company trotted out its in-house medical expert who assured that cycling is a heart-healthy activity. Peloton also released a cheeky ad in less than 48 hours – which they then quickly pulled.
The interactive fitness platform, who rolled with the punches last month, may be starting to lose its patience after Showtime’s depiction of its brand.
Peloton released a statement on Twitter stating that it did not give Showtime permission to use its brand, sharing: “We did not provide Billions with any equipment. As referenced by the show itself, there are strong benefits of cardio-vascular exercise. Exercise helps millions of real people lead long, happy lives.”
“I get why fictional TV shows want to include a brand that people love to talk about, but @Showtime’s use of the Peloton Bike & reference to a #Peloton Instructor was NOT a brand, product, or instructor placement. We did not agree for our Brand/IP to be used on @SHO_Billions,” Tweeted Dara Treseder, SVP, Head of Global Marketing & Communications for Peloton.
Peloton is in the middle of its own made-for-tv drama, with CEO John Foley announcing that a Peloton leaker has been identified and that the company would be moving forward with legal action.
CNBC, who had obtained internal information, reported that Peloton didn’t have plans to produce any Tread+ machines in fiscal 2022, would pause bike production for two months, and that the company hired management consulting company McKinsey to discuss job cuts. Shares of PTON plummeted in response.
Foley recently addressed the Peloton team in a note explaining that the interactive fitness company has experienced leaks “containing confidential information that have led to a flurry of speculative articles in the press.” The Peloton CEO says that the leaker’s information that the media has received is “incomplete, out of context, and not reflective of Peloton’s strategy.” Foley also shared that CNBC’s report that Peloton would temporarily pause production of Bike and Tread is false.
To offset misinformation, Peloton issued a pre-earnings press release that discusses the preliminary Q2 results. Despite trying to encourage the Peloton team, Foley did hint at job cuts, writing, “In the past, we’ve said layoffs would be the absolute last lever we would ever hope to pull. However, we now need to evaluate our organization structure and size of our team, with the utmost care and compassion. And we are still in the process of considering all options as part of our efforts to make our business more flexible.”
Peloton plans to release its final second quarter Fiscal 2022 results after the U.S. stock market closes on Tuesday, February 8.
Courtney Rehfeldt has worked in the broadcasting media industry since 2007 and has freelanced since 2012. Her work has been featured in Age of Awareness, Times Beacon Record, The New York Times, and she has an upcoming piece in Slate. She studied yoga & meditation under Beryl Bender Birch at The Hard & The Soft Yoga Institute. She enjoys hiking, being outdoors, and is an avid reader. Courtney has a BA in Media & Communications studies.