HBO's new drama Luck, which we featured on our TV column last month, has been cancelled. The show, which follows the events at Santa Anita Park and the trainers, jockeys and gamblers who spend their days at the track, has halted production of its second season after the death of a third horse.
The show has faced criticism about its harm of animals from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and the American Humane Association. PETA had called on Luck producers to use stock racing footage rather than risk injury to the horses during filming.
"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 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 and David Milch said, "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.'"
The show, which I'm surprised has gotten low ratings and minimal viewing response, is a tense, gritty look at gambling and the world of horse racing. The scenes of actual horse racing are beautiful and consuming. Unfortunately, producers couldn't reenact such intense scenes without accidents and injuries, which justifiably led to this decision. It's too bad that a show meant to celebrate the animals won't be able to continue.
Luck will continue to air its first and only season, at 9 p.m. Sundays. There are two episodes remaining, with the series finale on March 25.