HBO cancelled “Luck” after three horses died during the making of the racing show. “Luck” had already received a second season pick-up. Executive Producers David Milch (“Deadwood”, “NYPD Blue”) and Michael Mann (“Heat”) released a statement to the press expressing their “heartbreak” over the cancellation and explaining their reasoning behind the ending of production:
“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.”
“Luck” follows Dustin Hoffman‘s Chester “Ace” Bernstein, a career criminal who tries to reopen a horse-racing track in the 1960s. The show also featured Oscar-nominees Nick Nolte (“Warrior”) and Joan Allen as well as Dennis Farina (“Law & Order”).
Ending the racetrack drama is not the worst news for HBO. Even though cable channels never reach as many viewers as national networks, “Luck” was one of the under-performers for HBO with an average of about 4.8 million viewers including DVR and OnDemand viewings. The rest of season one will air on time.
The animal rights group PETA also issued an elated announcement for news of the cancellation as they believed the show was unjust to animals from the start:
“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.”
The organisation says it has called on law enforcement to look into the horses’ deaths and bring up “charges as appropriate.”
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