Peloton says it had no part in ‘Billions’ heart attack reminiscent of Mr. Big’s fate

A man in a blazer smiling with outstretched arms.
David Costabile as Mike “Wags” Wagner in “Billions.”
(Jeff Neumann / Showtime)

Peloton has been implicated in the fate of another TV character, prompting a swift response from the popular stationary-bike company on Twitter Sunday and a denial of its involvement in the episode.

(Warning: Spoilers ahead for the Season 6 premiere of “Billions.”)

When Showtime’s “Billions” returned Sunday for its Season 6 premiere, right-hand man Mike “Wags” Wagner (David Costabile) suffered a minor heart attack after working out on the pricey bike.


Wags’ medical emergency was promptly compared to the fatal demise of “Sex and the City’s” Mr. Big (played by Chris Noth) in the December premiere of HBO’s spinoff series, “And Just Like That ...”

And it’s Wags who does the comparing: Later in Sunday’s episode of “Billions,” EMTs tell him he’s having a heart attack, and he declares “I’m not going out like Mr. Big.”

The departure of Damian Lewis forced a major shift in Showtime’s drama about the battle between a shrewd U.S. attorney and a brilliant billionaire.

Jan. 19, 2022

The episode was written and shot last spring, but the high-finance drama’s executive producers told the New York Times that the line was overdubbed in postproduction after Big’s shocking death made headlines last month.

The “Billions” plot twist also prompted a response from Peloton, which had blamed Big’s death on his “extravagant lifestyle.” The company’s stock dropped, but then Peloton rebounded by producing a viral ad starring Noth, the embattled actor who’s since been accused of sexual assault.

But Wags’ nonfatal workout wasn’t as well received by Peloton. The exercise bike — and often its unfortunate cameos — has become an unlikely breakout star of television and was also recently spoofed in an episode of Netflix’s “Emily in Paris.”

The fitness company has what may be an unwelcome cameo in HBO Max’s ‘Sex and the City’ reboot. But a spokeswoman cited the character’s bad habits.

Dec. 13, 2021

“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,” a Peloton spokesperson said Monday in a statement to The Times.


“As referenced by the show itself, there are strong benefits of cardio-vascular exercise to help people lead long, happy lives,” the statement added, echoing the company’s Sunday tweet after the episode aired.

Representatives for Showtime declined to comment when reached by The Times Monday.

Peloton has been weathering its own corporate scandal since last week when reports indicated that it would pause production on its bikes as pandemic demand has waned. Co-founder and CEO John Foley told employees that the rumors are false but did say that the company would be considering layoffs.