HBO has canceled David Milch and Michael Mann‘s horse-racing drama Luck after the third death of a horse this season. The show had been picked up for a second season and filming was underway, but on Tuesday a horse was injured when she “reared, flipped over backwards, and struck her head on the ground.” The on-set veterinarian determined that humane euthanasia was appropriate. Two horses were injured and euthanized during the first season, so apparently HBO was operating on the “Three Dead Horses and You’re Out” rule.
While HBO probably renewed Luck due to its cost and star prestige (the show stars Dustin Hoffman), it wasn’t turning into a breakout hit the size of Boardwalk Empire or Game of Thrones. This isn’t to say that HBO would have gone on in spite of the horse deaths had Luck been a bigger hit, but I don’t think any of the network executives are going to be upset at losing an expensive show that had soft ratings. Hit the jump for a statement from the network.
Here’s HBO’s statement on canceling Luck [via THR]:
“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.”