The production of HBO’s horse racing drama Luck has been particularly hard on its equine cast members, with three horses dying on the show’s watch — although not during filming or racing scenes. Under pressure from animal rights groups, HBO has canceled the series.
The show focused on the unsavory aspects of horse racing, including animal abuse, as well as corruption that’s believed to be rampant in the industry. The New York Observer ran HBO’s explanation and apology:
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.
Quote from Michael Mann and David 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.”
Seven episodes of the series have aired so far, and its final two episodes will air this Sunday and March 25. Originally there were 10 episodes planned for the season.
HBO Out of Luck: Show Canceled Due to All the Horse Deaths [New York Observer]