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?