One month after the now-infamous Peloton-induced heart attack of Mr. Big on And Just Like That…, the spin bike brand is back on the big screen. Once again, the spin bike’s cameo is less than flattering. This time, Showtime’s Billions took its shot at Peloton with yet another heart attack.
Peloton’s latest on-screen appearance came in the season-sex premier of Billions. In the episode, a hedge-fun COO that goes by Wags has a heart attack while riding the bike. Unlike Chris Noth’s character, Wags survives his workout.
Despite striking similarities between the two cameos, Billions co-creator Brian Koppelman says his program isn’t riding the coattails of Sex and the City‘s reboot. Koppelman told USA Today that the episode was written a year ago and filmed in April 2021. A line referencing, and perhaps taking an easy shot at HBO’s show, was added after And Just Like That… aired in December.
The coincidence, two fictional heart attacks in two months, has Peloton asking what the brand’s done to attract the ire of T.V. writing rooms. On Twitter, the brand fired back at Billions, making clear it did not agree to its appearance on the show and reminding readers that “cardio-vascular exercise helps people lead long, happy lives.”
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. As the show itself points out, cardio-vascular exercise helps people lead long, happy lives.
— Peloton (@onepeloton) January 23, 2022
No longer billionaires
Peloton isn’t just under fire on screen. The recent turmoil, from the cameos and Peloton’s quickly-pulled response ad featuring Noth, has led to real world problems for the brand that was so recently a fitness industry darling. There are rumors of flagging sales, potential layoffs and production halts and from revelations of board members dumping stock.
Now investors are calling for the ousting Peloton’s CEO, and once-but-no-longer billionaire John Foley. Blackwells Capital, an activist investor group, published an open letter calling for the “immediate firing” of Foley and requesting the remaining board explore options for selling the brand.
Blackwells owns less than five per cent of Peloton, according to CNN. But the letter does add to the brand’s accelerating slide from its early-pandemic highs. Can the brand motivate itself to find a second wind?