HBO Cancels Luck in the Wake of Horse Fatalities

  • 90comments

This is a shocker, to say the least. HBO just announced that all production on horse-racing drama Luck, which until today had been filming its second season, will cease. For good. In other words, the show's been canceled. The decision was made with the approval of series co-creators David Milch and Michael Mann.

Word comes down just a day after a third horse died during the production of the series after the animal reared backwards, fell over, and hit its head. Vets determined that the humane thing to do was euthanize it. The injury did not occur during racing or filming, according to reports, but rather while the horse was being walked back to its stable.

In a statement from HBO, safety was cited as a major concern. Here's what they had to say, straight from the... uhh... network's mouth:


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 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.

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.


I love Luck. The acting, the cinematography, the setting—they were are all superb. But Milch, who is incredibly passionate about the sport of horse racing and the animals that drive it, knows that the four-legged stars are just as important as the overpaid bipedal humans. This had to be an incredibly tough decision for all involved parties to make, and it's a shame that yesterday's death didn't even have anything to do with actual production. Luck was a risky show to shoot. I'm going to miss it dearly. I want to be mad, but I can't.

However, it has to be said: Luck was suffering from low ratings, and the Season 2 order was handed out just two days after the series premiere. One wonders if the same decision would have been made if the series was a hit.


Do you think HBO made the right decision in cancelling Luck?


Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom