The race is over for HBO's Luck, as executive producers David Milch and Michael Mann have decided to cancel the series after another horse died while filming this week.
In total, this marks the third horse to have died during the series' production. The two other horses died during filming of the Luck pilot and while filming the seventh episode. And even though the producers were using more strenuous safety procedures on the horses than a normal raceway, the cancellation of the series came down to the fact that the producer could not promise that another horse death wouldn't happen again.
Here is the press release HBO sent out about Luck's cancelation:
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.”
While it's unfortunate that Luck is coming to an end so soon, what's even more unfortunate is the fact that the cast and crew were just made aware of its cancellation, moments after TMZ reported it online. Because Luck was renewed for a second season early, everyone involved was already busy working on season 2, with 8 additional months of production expected. Now that the series has been canceled, it's been reported the crew will not be receiving severance.
For HBO, Luck was always an experiment of sorts. While the actual art of horse racing was beautiful conveyed on screen, the initial barrier for entry that presents itself to potential fans may have been too great. Of course, with the last episode of Luck receiving only 0.47 million viewers, HBO may have gotten off easy with an early cancellation for this series, because even if it was captivating, it just never found its audience.
Watch the last episodes of Luck, Sundays @9pm on HBO.