HBO News Blog

HBO Cancels Luck Amid Controversy

By Jacob Klein on Mar 14, 2012 to Luck

Yesterday we reported that HBO has suspended filming of their new series: Luck.  Today we’ve recieved an email from HBO on the topic saying that they’ve decided to go ahead and cancel the entire series!  Here is the shocking email HBOWatch received just moments ago:

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.”

What a shame!  The series was just about to hit it’s stride!   We wish everyone the best of… well… damn.  What do you think, Luck fans?  Was this the right decision?  Do you think animal rights trump your right to watch Dustin Hoffman kick ass on HBO?  Or should HBO have cancelled the program after the first two deaths?  Leave a comment below with your thoughts.

  • Just an opinion HBO! listen up

    Old topic, but one of the worst decisions HBO ever made, and I hope the person responsible for the cancelation decision was fired, even at the top!!!!
    Blaming the show for the tragedy was reckless at very least! They weren’t even filming when the loss of the Horse(s) took place! Fantastic writing and tremendous acting and smart story line!
    Horses die, unfortunately, every year during training and racing with no media outcry! If you’re against that then complain to the racing industry, not film makers! Nothing worse than an Entertainment Giant pay per view television company not having the guts to continue! Even if HBO sided with PETA the show brought more to light about the industry to start a discussion rather than shelf it!
    Weak HBO very weak! Put your balls out there or have you forgot what made you the most talked about and worth watching in the first place!

  • UpIntoNothing

    CG the horses and finish the story!

  • Marcelle Miller

    Good ! Enough abusing animals for our entertainment.

  • ModernMan

    I never liked the show but the reason for cancelling it is stupid. While I think that animals deserve to not be mistreated, animals are either property or food. To elevate them to a place higher than that is to give the a place they do not deserve. Animals are not “people too”.

  • Judie Ann Johansson

    Sex and nudity is natural, killing animals is not. Get over yourselves you selfish Americans.

    • whenocsareooc

      It isn’t just Americans, you know. There’s no need to be a racist. I agree with you, killing animals is most unnatural, but singling out Americans is racist and horrible.

      • budd1

        Americans are not a race….

  • jerry

    total bull, this had the makings of another great hbo serries.the animal activists seem to always win, even when the most precautions are always taken. hopefully hbo will resume this great to be serries after they see the majority responce from the viewing public

  • Miguel

    I think if they already did the series they should play it. Should of thought about the consiquence before even making the series.

  • AL

    Wait and wait for the next season and what do you know, cancelled . Just like Deadwood , another f!!! Up ending a great series. It’s almost not worth getting into a new series when the plug can be pulled so suddenly. Even Sparticus continued after their loss. See ya HBO!

  • Paul Crisanti

    Another idea, go Spiderman-Style on it. Meaning CGI/SFX/Animate them. Will cost but no lives will be lost, well maybe a few coders, but there are no coder rights groups yet so it should be a safe way to go.

    • klarkus

      you dont understand the cost of cgi

  • donnyM

    Leave it to HBO to cancel the best shows just when they are getting good. All of these recent cancellations are a complete joke!! Luck.. Horse racing is everywhere in the world, what does that have to do with a TV show? My god people, get real!!! Since when does HBO give a shit what people think? And horses dying is no worse than the blatant nudity and sex shown on just about every HBO series… I personally don’t need it.. great shows don’t need it either. I have to constantly monitor my kids ://

    HBO you are really pissing people off by cancelling all of these shows… ever since the Sopranos went out the window seems like the norm with you guys. Meh….

  • john

    I am very disappointed that the show will not go on.
    Luck was one of my my favorite shows to look forward to watching
    besides boardwalk empire. Dustin Hoffman was Fantastic among the rest of the crew. I hope you guy reconsider bringing Luck back.

  • Kim

    Will miss the show immensely – great show.
    I don’t believe the deaths where due to wrong dooing on HBOs side – just pure UNluck…

  • John Maclagan

    Really great and very interesting show, dustin hoffman was great. As to the death of horses while filming understandable yet here in the u.k we held the Grand National the greatest horse race on the planet, 2 horses died and yet i’ve heard nothing of next years grand national being cancelled. Such a shame was looking forward to season 2

  • marc guttman

    “…. Do you think animal rights trump your right to watch Dustin Hoffman kick ass on HBO? ….”

    STUPID QUESTION ….don’t you think

    • vernard sloggett

      obviously it was a joke… don’t you think

  • jimi wood

    Am i the only person who is looking for some way to save “LUCK” show and bring itback on HBO or on some other network. I do not know how to create a “SAVE LUCK’ WEBSITE and organize the people like me who liked the show. Horses get hurt as babies on farms in Kentucky, Fl, Ca, etc just playing in the fields as they grow up, long before they ever see a racetrack. So PITA can keep its F%$#ing objections where they belong, in the trash. I will help anyone who responds. My e-mail is….. THANKS

  • unklvictor

    I am sad this show was canceled……I have canceled my HBO subscription

    • It is very sad for everyone but don’t leave HBO just as they’re about to set fire to the rain! Tons of awesome shows coming up.

  • heather s

    NO! I love this show! Please work something out to continue filming! Dont just leave us all hanging! There is always going to be some tree hugger or activist especially in California that has something negative to say. This is an awesome show with excellent acting. Cant believe this! Please try!

  • Use2Play

    Seldom is there anything intelligent worth watching on TV.
    Mostly it’s dancing with someone, or singing something, or some lame reality series.
    Dustin Hoffman’s LUCK was the best series on TV in years.
    Brilliantly produced, written and directed.
    The story lines were interesting and the acting was superb.
    While I am not unsympathetic to the PET crowd, I can’t believe that HBO is unable to somehow continue the series with a safe environment for the horses.
    To cancel this series is a disservice to the TV audience.
    Please don’t consign us to reality TV, yet another set of doctor or police dramas.
    LUCK was original imaginative and highly entertaining – everything the HBO should be attempting to produce and maintain.

  • Jack Faber

    Great show & one of my favorites. Tell PETA to go live in a barn with all the other horse poop. They should spend more time worrying about our men& women in the middle-east.

  • I wonder if we shouldn’t look at it from this angle: Doesn’t Luck help bring attention to the shady tactics of the horseracing scene? And the beauty of the animals and the sport etc? I mean horses that look like these wouldn’t even exist if it weren’t for racing! Anyway.. just feels like they didn’t even TRY alternatives that would have worked IMHO. Maybe they wanted out of this series anyway? I dunno. Lets hope they resign Hoffman and Nolte to some other series.

    The Sopranos 2, TNG – Nolte, Hoffman.

    • Jonny

      You bring up a great point about without horse racing, these creatures wouldn’t exist. 60 Minutes did an excellent report on hunting exotic animals in Texas. Controlled hunting is sustaining several species that might otherwise be extinct. It’s a fascinating ethical question. As interesting as I find it we are talking about show business where there seem to be few ethics.

      I can understand how a conscientious, intelligent company like HBO may have people that have real concerns about being associated with a brutal sport, however they are the main patron of the most brutal (and my favorite) sport: boxing. I can also understand that Luck didn’t seem to be getting great ratings so the accidents may have made the ax easier to wield.

      • Dreamlife

        The difference between boxing and horse racing is that the BOXERS actually CHOOSE to fight; in horse racing and dog racing (and dog and cock fighting, for that matter) the animals are forced to do it because their racers buy them for that purpose.

        Slightly off topic, but I happen to be OK with boxing, but prefer kickboxing and I am baffled that K-1 is not sanctioned in the USA, yet MMA and UFC (which are far more brutal) are allowed.

  • If anyone has an extremely strong opinion about the cancellation of Luck and wants to write about it on HBOWatch check out our Write for Us Page!

    Would love to hear your thoughts and start that conversation properly. I know a lot of people are reeling from this decision.

  • Jason

    I am very unhappy with HBO’s decision to cancel the show. Statistics show that over 300 race horses die every year in CA alone, so perhaps we should cancel horse racing altogether.

    I saw the headlines about the third horse, but didn’t see any pressure from anywhere to end this show, no headlines from PETA or any other source, and HBO caves pre-emptively.

    The animal reared and fell back while on its way to a racetrack stable — a common occurrence in stable areas every year, according to a state racing board doctor.

    I felt this show really portrayed the beauty of horses, and was really a gateway to help raise awareness if they wanted to do that instead.

    Sadning, maddening. *sigh*

    • vernard sloggett

      Im with the guy that said HBO was looking to get out of the show anyway. The pretext is unimportant. If statisticly the horses are as safe on the show as anywhere else then in reality there is no issue here.

  • Fan

    Even when a HUMAN dies it is still not acceptable to cancel a film or tv series.

    Look at The Crow, Brandon Lee, or Dark Knight, Heath Ledger…

    Just give me my damn film and tv and I don’t care what happens. I just hate it when it gets canceled.

    I hate PETA.

  • Fan

    I don’t believe in animal rights, but i loved this show and it is a great shame to have ultra leftist PETA activists stand between me and my HBO dramas. It is unforgivable. I already hate PETA with a passion but now that they have killed my favorite show I hate them even more.

    I don’t believe in being cruel to animals, but I don’t see why a horse is any more important than a cow or a chicken or a tuna fish. They all wind up in dog food.

    I really hate HBO for being so knee jerk and caving to the fascist demands of the PETA wrecking crew.

    It is a shame when real men like Milch and Mann have to try and make art in a world full of prissy effeminate pansies.

    John From Cincinatti got screwed, so did Deadwood, and now Luck, over a couple of worthless horses who would wind up in dog food anyway even if they had have lived.

    This politically correct world is insane, it is no wonder I need the escapism of HBO dramas because the real world is run by retards with an ax to grind.

    • Jonny

      A John From Cincinatti fan?! I did not get that show one bit, those were dark days for programming, I feel like its a renaissance of the glory days right now, besides their best new show being cancelled that is.

      • Fan

        I was also pissed off when Rubicon on AMC got canceled.

        This HBO watch should change its perview to ‘cable drama watch’ and include all the other good dramas too.

        HBO watch is too narrow.

    • Nancy

      I totally believe in animal rights, but I feel that Peta is off the wall in their activities and opinions. HBO only had these animals run 1/2 mile at a time, but the horses provided to them were old and arthritic, out of shape, hadn’t raced in years. They are victims. I don’t blame HBO for this, I blame the person who provided the horses and the vets who approved them.

  • Jonny

    I can take the unfortunate deaths of horses in service to the show. I only ever see the triple crown races once in a while and I’ve seen horses put down, I accept it as part of the “sport”. I disdain gambling but LOVE the show. I don’t see how HBO could tolerate it’s corporate name being associated with animal deaths. Art is the casualty to politics and business.

    My sympathies to the cast and crew, I’m sure this news hurts them far more than the fans. I saw David Milch on the Craig Ferguson show a few nights ago and it was a great interview. HBO is good to their people, I have faith that this creative team will be given virtually carte blanche for their next project. Mann’s “Witness”* should get fast tracked.

    If any complete Season 2 episodes have been shot, I’d love to see them tacked onto the end of Season 1. Doubtful but I hate when fully produced HBO material, like pilots, disappear into the vault and never see the light of day. Generally, I think the show was good but I was starting to need more from Ace/Gus relationship and Ace’s character in general. The married couple act got old ending every episode with it.


    R.I.P. Luck, we hardly knew ye

  • Got an email from a fan named Chris and I wanted to share it:

    “Love the Show!…can they just use footage from actual horse races instead of using real horses?…The story may have to be somewhat tailored to the footage but it believe it can work.”

    What do you think of this idea? Why couldn’t they use some of their old footage, along with REAL racing footage or something? There’s got to be a way to save Luck!

    • Nancy

      This is my favorite show. I’m a big fan of horse racing and all things having to do with the sport. I hate the fact that horses break down in races, but the fact is, they love to run and were bred to run. These horses that broke down during filming were not in shape and were provided by an outside source. HBO and the actors/directors/producers had nothing to do with that. They had vets and animal welfare there to make sure the animals were in shape, and they failed. I agree that the show could continue, and I wish it would, with canned races and computer graphics. It’s not right to cancel it.

  • Dreamlife

    They should never have produced a series about horse racing, which is a sorry excuse for forcing animals to work beyond their limits (even to the point of injury and death) for the enjoyment and greed of the gamblers. I am glad they shut down the series, but shame on them for not doing it after the 1st death.

    • Jamie


    • JakeRobles

      Horses die generally in horse racing anyway. I don’t believe Horses should have died for the sake of this show, but mistakes happen. I still wish they didn’t cancel it and figure out a creative way of keeping the horse racing aspect without doing it for real.

      • NanM

        I agree with you Jake. My boyfriend and I have really enjoyed the show especially now that it’s finally getting better. We too wish the show wasn’t cancelled and incorporated old race footage.

        • JakeRobles

          I’m glad someone agrees. I have a feeling they’ll let the controversy die down a bit and maybe bring it back later? They were in the middle of production of season 2

  • justthefacts

    What a shock, I really enjoy the show. Unfortunate for everyone involved.
    I can’t comment on whether hbo’s decision was right or wrong. I don’t know enough about the situation or about horses in general to pass judgement.

    I hope Michael Mann and David Milne follow up on their comment and continue with HBO

    • Miguel Ferreira

      The decision of cancel luck was wrong! “it’s easy, don’t let it go
      it’s easy, don’t let it go
      don’t loose it!

      • Paul Crisanti

        I don’t know what happened but I can’t believe the producers would knowingly put the animals at any greater risk than they would be in ‘reality’. I think Animals Rights People is getting a little too powerful for its own good. Of course it would be up to HBO and the producers to challenge this. But what a loss of a great production!
        Say, when was the last time a Production was cancelled for human rights?
        Again, I don’t know the details but I can’t believe they would endanger the animals (and god forbid the actors!) just to get ‘the shot’.
        We have entered back into the Dark Ages.

Find an HBO Series

More HBO

Subscribe to HBO
Countries HBO Is In
Watch Game of Thrones Online
Watch The Leftovers Online
Watch Silicon Valley Online
HBO Premiere & Air Dates
True Detective Streaming
Other Streaming Television
HBO Boxing Live Stream
Game of Thrones on DVD & Blu-Ray
Watch Cinemax Online