HBO yesterday canceled the Michael Mann and David Milch horse racing cable series Luck starring Dustin Hoffman and Nick Nolte, only hours after word of a third thoroughbred death during production began to spread.
The latest thoroughbred incident to strike the series occurred during production on Season 2. The horse reared back, stumbled and fell on its head, forcing staff on hand to euthanize it due to the injuries sustained.
Initially production was shut down on all scenes involving horses immediately following the accident. It appeared, at the time, that Luck would live on while HBO and the production team figured out another way to integrate horses into the show without endangering them.
Despite the precautions put in place, there’s nothing more HBO could have done to protect against the uncertainty of how the thoroughbreds can behave. Without any further assurances to rely on in addition to the “highest safety standards possible” that HBO claims to have implemented, and three deaths plaguing the production, the call was made this afternoon by HBO and co-showrunners Milch and Mann to permanently pull the plug, else risk further unfortunate incidents.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA as they’re more widely known, were quick to chime in on the demise of Luck this afternoon just after the cancellation was made official. They claimed the horses used in the production were “old, unfit and drugged,” and are pressing for an investigation into the production.
HBO will air the remaining episode of Luck: Season 1 with what was planned as the season finale now doubling as the series finale.
In their final statement as co-showrunners of HBO’s Luck, David Milch and Michael Mann stated working on the series was a “tremendous collaboration and one that we plan to continue in the future.” We all wish them the best of luck in their next endeavor.