What a premiere… But if you don’t want any spoilers to the first episode of And Just Like That, the revamp of Sex and the City on HBO MAX, then read no further because it’s a big one (pun intended).
Everyone, including executives at Peloton, was surprised by the death of Mr. Big (John James Preston) played by Chris Noth, at the end of the first episode. Instead of heading to the Hamptons with his wife, Carrie Bradshaw, played by the star of the show Sarah Jessica Parker, who attended her friend Charlotte’s daughter’s piano recital, he went for a ride on his Peloton stationary bike.
Seems like a bit of good PR for the company, but shortly after the intense ride, Mr. Big dies of a heart attack, sending fans into a grieving rage and Peloton into crisis response mode to curb the fallout.
As a matter of fact, the premiere episode, which aired Thursday morning in the U.S. and prominently featured the company’s bike, had such an impact with viewers that stocks for Peloton began to fall. Overall, stocks fell 11.35 percent on Nasdaq by the end of the day.
To halt the reputational damage that the episode’s ending could have on the company, Peloton jumped into crisis mode to let people know it wasn’t the bike or the workout that killed Mr. Big. It was his lifestyle choices over the years – cigars, steaks, and alcohol – which viewers had witnessed over the course of six seasons and two movies.
Peloton issued a statement from Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, a preventative cardiologist and member of Peloton’s health and wellness advisory council, that explained “Mr. Big lived what many would call an extravagant lifestyle — including cocktails, cigars, and big steaks — and was at serious risk as he had a previous cardiac event in Season 6. These lifestyle choices and perhaps even his family history, which often is a significant factor, were the likely cause of his death.”
Peloton also used this moment has a chance to emphasize that biking is good for people, including in the statement that “Riding his Peloton bike may have even helped delay his cardiac event.”
When asked if Peloton execs knew of Mr. Big’s death, the company stated to the media that it only knew a Peloton would be used in the show, along with a real Peloton instructor, but it was not aware of the plotline due to confidentiality reasons.
Makes sense, as it would be safe to assume Peloton execs would ask not to be linked to the death of Mr. Big, which had some fans pretty upset, with a review from Vulture stating, “This episode isn’t just the worst Peloton ad ever but is actually a pretty solid pilot for SATC’s new era.”
Overall, the timing of this plotline is not great for the company. Peloton is already working through a drop in stock of 73% this year from a boom in 2020, due to pandemic restrictions being lifted.
It’s also reeling from a recall of its treadmill in May following one death and multiple injuries to users.
Nevertheless, the death of Mr. Big was tragic, and it will now make for an interesting plot point for Carrie as she enters the world of being single once again.