In an extraordinary move, HBO has cancelled their horse-racing drama Luck, despite ordering a second season after the pilot premiered to 3.3 million subscribers.
The cable network issued this statement about their decision:
"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."Michael Mann & David Milch, executive producers:
"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."Three horses have died on Luck's southern Californian set since production began in 2010. The latest incident happened while filming season 2's second episode, when an injured horse had to be euthanized after rearing up and falling backwards while being led to its stable. HBO were already tense about the previous deaths, and were reportedly considering making Luck without any horse scenes (possibly relying on archive footage from actual horse races?), but have now chosen to simply end the series.
I can't remember the last time a TV show was shutdown over something like this, so it's an intriguing and unusual situation. For fans of Luck, it must be disappointing the production can't guarantee the safety of the horses they use, resulting in the premature demise of the show, but I can't blame HBO for making this tough decision. It's not good publicity if innocent horses are dying to create a drama only a minority of people actually watch.
Speaking as someone who's only just started watching Luck, maybe I'll now wait until someone tells me if season 1 wraps things up half-decently...
Any thoughts on this?