Decisive Move to Cancel ‘Luck’ a Long-Term Win for HBO

HBO moved quickly and ceased all future production of its drama series Luck after a third horse was injured and euthanized during filming on March 13. The series about thoroughbred racing was in the midst of shooting for its second season. Two horses had been injured and euthanized during the shooting of the series' first season, which is currently running on HBO.

Luck, created by David Milch and Michael Mann, was a huge investment for the premium cable network, but promises of a return on that investment in the form of subscriptions paled in comparison to what would have been a PR nightmare of epic proportions had a fourth horse been injured. And the way things were going, that was probably an inevitability. By acting decisively and terminating the series entirely HBO has sent a clear-cut message that the safety of its cast members—two-legged and four-legged—comes first. 

HBO's official statement itself was direct and unadorned—and hinted at the impossible situation it would face if there was another injury on the set.

"While we maintained the highest safety standards possible, accidents unfortunately happen and it is impossible to guarantee they won't in the future," HBO said.

It's a loss for the network creatively, but a win for its long-term reputation as a smart—in more ways than one—creator of TV programming.

Follow Steve Goldstein: @SGoldsteinAI