Another peloton heart attack on TV? “Billions” say it’s a coincidence.
This article includes minor spoilers for the Season 6 premiere of “Billions.”
Mr. Big wasn’t the only one.
In an early scene from the Season 6 premiere of Showtime’s white-collar crime drama “Billions,” a main character from the series, Mike Wagner (played by David Costabile), has a heart attack while leading a Platoon , the top of the range stationary bike.
Viewers may well feel deja vu after watching the character step down from his platoon and react to a flurry of chest pains amid expensive furnishings. In the first episode last month of HBO Max’s revival of “Sex and the City,” “And Just Like That…,” Carrie’s husband, known as Mr. Big (Chris Noth), dies of a heart attack after completing his 1,000th Platoon.
One difference in eerily similar plot points is that the character of Costabile, a hedge fund executive at the center of the series, survives. And when he returns to the office after his heart attack, the show has taken the risk of tackling the parallel plot head-on.
“I don’t date like Mr. Big,” Wagner, better known as Wags, triumphantly tells his employees.
Peloton said in a statement that the company did not consent to the use of its trademark or intellectual property on the show and did not provide any equipment for the episode.
“As stated by the show itself,” the statement said, “cardiovascular exercise has great benefits in helping people lead long and happy lives.”
The Season 6 premiere received a surprise early Friday morning release ahead of its scheduled Sunday night premiere. The episode will be available for free until April 10 on multiple streaming platforms, including Showtime’s website, Showtime.com, and on Youtube.
In a statement, the show’s executive producers said the scene was written and shot last spring, months before Mr. Big disappeared from the screen. The line of dialogue on Mr. Big was only recently dubbed in post-production.
“We added the line because that was what Wags would say,” they said in the statement. Showtime did not immediately respond to a question about whether Peloton knew about the cameo before the episode began.
The unfortunate “Sex and the City” cameo became a problem for Peloton: after the episode began, the company’s shares plummeted.
The company tried to turn the tide by quickly filming an online ad featuring Noth, lounging cozy with his Peloton instructor by the fire. But that decision backfired when, later that week, The Hollywood Reporter published an article in which two women accused him of sexual assault. Peloton deleted the ad from its social media accounts. (Noth called the accusations “categorically false” and has since been charged and denied sexual misconduct by several others.)
The company has already faced challenges this week. After CNBC reported that the company was planning to suspend production of its bikes, Peloton’s chief executive issued a declaration denying the report but saying the company was considering laying off some workers. Peloton shares fell 24% on Thursday.
The scenes were conceived as restrictions kept people from exercising at home during the pandemic, but demand for Peloton’s gear has waned as the country returns to its old routines.