Luck has appeared to run out for HBO's Luck. Following a third horse death on the set of the racetrack drama, as first reported Tuesday by TMZ, premium cable network HBO today announced that it has decided to stop production on the low-rated show, citing animal-safety concerns. Luck, created by Michael Mann and David Milch, had already been renewed for a second season, despite meager ratings. “The two of us loved this series, loved the cast, crew and writers," Milch and Mann wrote in a joint statement. "This has been a tremendous collaboration and one that we plan to continue in the future.”
The nine episodes comprising Season 1 of Luck were already completed and sent to critics late last year. The production shutdown will affect only the show's second season, which was scheduled to air in 2013; the network will reportedly air all the remaining episodes from the first season.
"Safety is always of paramount concern," said HBO in a prepared statement that went out to press this afternoon. "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."
However, it's impossible not to acknowledge that, had the ratings for Luck been significantly higher, HBO probably would have found a way to move past the unfortunate animal deaths. "Let's just say that had Marcel the Monkey been killed during production of Friends," tweeted the Hollywood Reporter's Matt Belloni, "the show would have gone on."