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Peloton slams Showtime’s ‘Billions’ after brand’s portrayal in premiere

Peloton is pedaling away from yet another PR controversy involving the health of a character on a major TV show. The embattled tech fitness company drew some more unwanted attention this weekend following the season premiere of Showtime’s “Billions” series, which featured the character Mike “Wags” Wagner, suffering a heart attack while riding a Peloton bike. Peloton said in a statement Sunday that it did not give “Billions” permission to use the brand on the show. “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,” the company said on Twitter. While the “Billions” character survives, the plotline was eerily similar to a viral moment on the season premiere of HBO’s “Sex and the City” reboot “And Just Like That…,” when Carrie Bradshaw’s husband Mr. Big dies following a Peloton ride. “I’m not going out like Mr. Big,” Wagner quipped after he recovered from the health scare. Though the new scene bears a striking resemblance to Mr. Big’s demise, “Billions” producer and co-creator Brian Koppelman said it was a coincidence – though he acknowledged Wagner’s line referencing the show was added in post-production. “That was all in the show, written a year ago and shot in April,” Koppelman told USA Today. “It would be completely out of our character not to take a swing,” Billions executive producer Beth Schacter added. “It’s too good. We’re going to make the joke.” Showtime did not immediately respond to a request for further comment. The “Billions” episode was set to premiere on Sunday night, but it was released early on Friday across multiple platforms. The latest incident surfaced as Peloton contends with a wave of negative publicity regarding its core business. Last week, the firm’s stock plunged after CNBC reported the company was forced to halt production of its bikes and treadmills due to sagging demand. Meanwhile, the Post reported Peloton is delaying the opening of its $400 million factory in Ohio from 2023 to 2024 due to excess inventory. Peloton CEO John Foley later denied the CNBC report in a note, though he acknowledged the company was “resetting our production levels for sustainable growth.” The embattled executive also said the company has identified a leaker within its ranks and would pursuing legal action against them following the press reports.

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