HBO cancels ‘Luck’ after third horse death

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HBO has pulled the plug on its gambling drama “Luck” after controversy erupted over the deaths of three horses during production.

“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,’ ” the network said in a statement.


The statement continues: “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.”


The network will air the rest of the first season’s episodes but will not continue with the second season, which had been ordered.

“Luck” was a high-profile bet for HBO. It starred Dustin Hoffman and Nick Nolte and was shot on location at the Santa Anita Park in Arcadia. HBO made the unusual move of renewing the show for a second season after the first episode of the series premiered earlier this year.

However, the ratings for “Luck” were low, and although critics praised the show’s artistry, its slow story lines were a frustration to many viewers.

Mann and Milch offered the following statement: “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.”


Full coverage and recaps of “Luck”

Decoding ‘Luck’: Sex, death and horses

Horse scenes suspended on ‘Luck’ after a third animal death

-- Yvonne Villarreal and Joe Flint