HBO Shocker: ‘Luck’ Series Suspended After Third Horse Dies

luckPoor Dustin Hoffman -- the HBO series Luck has just been cancelled, and for the weirdest reasons: THREE horses have died during the filming of the show! The second season had just started filming when a horse flipped and struck its head. It had to be euthanized. Two other horses were injured and euthanized during the filming of the first season.

Three horses dying during production -- is that ... normal? Is filming a television show about horse racing just too dangerous for horses? And what about all the money and star power that went into this television series?

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In a statement, the producers say that their safety standards were higher even than required. And, they had "fewer incidents than occur in racing or than befall horses normally in barns at night or pastures." But ... accidents unfortunately happened. And because "it is impossible to guarantee" that more accidents won't happen in the future, they decided to cancel the show -- effective immediately.

Wow. So if I read between the lines, here, it sounds like no matter how careful they tried to be, there were a whole lot of factors that were just out of their control. The American Human Society is demanding "that all production involving horses shut down," and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is calling for a full investigation. If you read PETA's blog (see that link), it sounds like there were some rumors about the producers of Luck using older, arthritic horses for high-speed racing scenes -- and a possible cover-up.

So I don't know that we're getting the full story from the producers. I don't to run with PETA's allegations. They're pretty serious. But it definitely makes you wonder what really happened.

Meanwhile, this has got to hurt for HBO and everyone involved. Dustin Hoffman wasn't the only Hollywood heavyweight in the show. One producer is David Milch, who created NYPD Blue and Deadwood. Another producer is Michael Mann, director of Heat and Public Enemies. They 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."

Do you think it's just too dangerous to film a television show about horse racing?

 

Image via HBO

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