HBO cancels racing drama ‘Luck’ following death of third horse

Nick Nolte stars in the just-canceled HBO series "Luck."

Ambitious horse racing drama “Luck” barely got out of the gate before HBO canceled the series from producers David Milch and Michael Mann.

“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,’” HBO said in a statement released Wednesday. The reason? Horse safety.

The cancellation was announced one day after a horse was killed during production on the series’ second season. The veterinarian of the California Horse Racing Board said “the horse was on her way back to the stall when she reared, flipped over backwards, and struck her head on the ground,” according to AceShowBiz.com. The horse was euthanized at a Santa Anita Park racetrack stable, where filming was taking place. This was the third horse killed during production of “Luck”; two died during the filming of Season 1.

The HBO statement continues:
 

Safety is always of paramount concern.  We maintained the highest safety standards throughout production, higher in fact than any protocols existing in horse racing 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.  

A joint quote from Milch and Mann states, “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.”

Meanwhile, cynical viewers may see this move as an out for the network amid low ratings for the series. “Luck,” starring Dustin Hoffman and Nick Nolte, had been renewed in January, but has struggled to draw even 500,000 viewers during its initial Sunday broadcasts in the 9 p.m. timeslot, reports Vulture.com.


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