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HBO Continues To Suffer Bad Luck After Canceling Horse Racing Drama

Luck poster

A few months back, your humble reporter wrote several articles chronicling the series of unfortunate circumstances that eventually led to HBO canceling its Dustin Hoffman fronted horse racing drama Luck in mid-production. At the time, three horses had tragically died due to on-set accidents, and animal rights groups had unleashed a fire storm of criticism upon the network's safety precautions or lack thereof. This led to a work stoppage while the incidents were investigated, with HBO euthanizing the show outright just days later.

Unfortunately, HBO's run of misfortune didn't end there, as EW.com estimates that the cable giant has lost big money by ending the show prematurely. How much? The losses are said to be in the neighborhood of 35 million dollars. Why did the cancellation put them so far in the red? It's all about contracts. Many production related contracts, and the deals of creator David Milch and star Dustin Hoffman were iron clad. guaranteed agreements. This means that whether Luck continued or not, Hoffman, Milch and others were still owed payments in the seven figure range. A rep for the animal activist group PETA had this to say on the matter - "They’ve lost a fortune, but the horses who died have paid a much bigger price." I'll leave it up to you to agree with that sentiment or not.

Thankfully, the news isn't all bad for HBO. Game Of Thrones has vastly outperformed estimates, and quickly rose to the status of third most popular show in the network's history, behind only The Sopranos and True Blood. So, at least stockholders have one reason to smile today.

Should HBO have canceled Luck so quickly? Were the circumstances overblown by groups like PETA? Or did things up end exactly as they deserved to?

- Luck

Written by: msd85
May 3rd, 2012, 11:25 am

Clint Marshall

Message Posted On May 10th, 2012, 7:43 am
Wonder how many flies got euthanized over the length of the series. "LETS SUE".

Level 2 (40%)
Points: 4.4
Since: 20/Apr/08
Message Posted On May 6th, 2012, 7:59 am

For the record, I'm a long-time HBO subscriber and I liked "Luck" quite a bit.


Message Posted On May 5th, 2012, 8:39 pm
Any chance we can sue P.E.T.A. for unwanted meddling? Or, at least turn this over to P.H.A.R.T.?

Level 3 (36%)
Since: 12/Oct/08
Message Posted On May 3rd, 2012, 6:47 pm

Remember the days of Bonanza, The Lone Ranger and High Chaperal? Or all the films John Wayne did? Or even the Spaghetti Westerns with Clint Eastwood? How many horses were put down in those shows and films. If Luck only had to put down three horses for their show, it pales in comparasion to the old days. Heck, I bet they would've had to put down three animals just to shoot one scene. I get that some things evolve with the times and that there is a place for groops like PETA in our new global universe...but...please... don't lose perspective. Animals are animals, not humans. Look at civilized countries like France where horse meat is considered quite good. Nobody complains about that. Some religions eat cows and some don't eat  pigs. No problem. Keep things in perspective. Three horses...$35,000,000.00! There is somethings wrong with that picture (pun intended!)


Level 2 (40%)
Points: 4.4
Since: 20/Apr/08
Message Posted On May 3rd, 2012, 3:29 pm

People always talk about ratings of HBO shows, which absolutely do not matter.  (Ratings are for ad rates- they have no ads.)  What matters is a PR flap big enough to lose them subscribers, which I doubt "Luck" was.  Or stuff like this, where they have to spend money to no gain.  I don't know how big $35M is in terms of their programming budget, but that's equivalent to a lot of subscription fees or DVD sales.


Level 1 (34%)
Since: 29/Dec/09
Message Posted On May 3rd, 2012, 1:03 pm

didn't watch it but i do feel it was a bit premature.... more precautions whould have been better or just CGI it ....

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