HBO cancels 'Luck' after third horse dies

luck

Image Credit: HBO

The title was never meant to be quite this ironic.

HBO has elected to cancel production on Luck following the death of a third horse on the racetrack drama series.

The network released this statement:

“It is with heartbreak that executive producers David Milch and Michael Mann together with HBO have decided to cease all future production on the series Luck. Safety is always of paramount concern. We maintained the highest safety standards throughout production, higher in fact than any protocols existing in horseracing anywhere with many fewer incidents than occur in racing or than befall horses normally in barns at night or pastures. While we maintained the highest safety standards possible, accidents unfortunately happen and it is impossible to guarantee they won’t in the future. Accordingly, we have reached this difficult decision. We are immensely proud of this series, the writing, the acting, the filmmaking, the celebration of the culture of horses, and everyone involved in its creation.”

The first-year drama had already earned a second-season pickup, so production was underway on the second of 10 new episodes. A horse was injured Tuesday while reportedly walking back to its barn at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif. After the horse was euthanized, the show suspended filming and the American Humane Association launched an investigation into the set. The show’s final two episodes will still air.

Added Mann and Milch: “The two of us loved this series, loved the cast, crew and writers.  This has been a tremendous collaboration and one that we plan to continue in the future.”

The cancellation isn’t big ratings loss for the network. Luck averaged about 4.8 million viewers once all repeats and platforms were included, such as DVR and OnDemand viewing.

UPDATE: People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which has objected previously to the show, issued this reaction: “Knowing that old, unfit, and drugged horses were forced to race for this series, PETA is glad that HBO has finally decided to cancel the show. We thank the whistleblowers who refused to let these horses’ deaths go unnoticed. Should Milch, Mann, and HBO decide to start the series up again, PETA will be calling on them, as we have done from the start, to use stock racing footage instead of endangering horses for entertainment purposes. PETA has called on law enforcement to investigate the deaths of the horses used on the set and to bring charges as appropriate.”

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