The former director of the American Humane Association’s film and production unit alleges she was fired because she urged the AHA to report the alleged abuse of horses on the set of the HBO series Luck. In addition to suing her ex-employer for wrongful termination, Barbara Casey also is suing HBO and Stewart Productions for “aiding and abetting” a cover-up of the alleged abuse in the complaint filed Monday in LA County Superior Court (read it here). “AHA bowed to political and financial pressure and refused to report the production defendants’ conduct to the authorities”, according to the the suit. “AHA instructed (Casey) not to report such conduct. AHA engaged in efforts to conceal and cover up the production defendants’ criminal activities”. HBO announced in March that it was canceling the series, starring Dustin Hoffman, after a fourth horse died. HBO released a statement in response to the lawsuit. “We took every precaution to ensure that our horses were treated humanely and with the utmost care, exceeding every safeguard of all protocols and guidelines required of the production. Barbara Casey was not an employee of HBO, and any questions regarding her employment should be directed to the AHA”, HBO said. AHA said in an emailed statement to Deadline that it “is unable to comment on this pending legal matter”. Casey is seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.
Jason Gedrick is joining Season 7 of Dexter in a multi-episode arc. He will play the manager of a Miami-area gentlemen’s club that becomes linked to a high-profile murder case in the Showtime drama, which has its season premiere …
2ND UPDATE: In a statement, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals applauded HBO’s decision to end Luck. ”Knowing that old, unfit, and drugged horses were forced to race for this series, PETA is glad that HBO has finally decided to cancel the show,” PETA said. The organization noted …
UPDATE, WEDNESDAY AM: Although production continues on Season 2 of HBO’s Luck, the network reaffirmed today that it will only shoot scenes that don’t involve horses as an investigation concludes regarding the death …
On the heels of Luck‘s official premiere on Sunday, HBO has renewed the horse racing drama from Michael Mann and David Milch for a 10-episode second season. The series starring Dustin Hoffman had already been working on scripts for Season 2, and production will begin at the end of February. The network had started prep work early because of the small window it has to film at the Santa Anita racetrack where a significant portion of the show is shot. Luck‘s second season will premiere in January 2013. “We couldn’t be more thrilled with the critical response to this beautiful piece of work, and we are very excited about where David and Michael plan to take these incredible characters,” said HBO Programming president Michael Lombardo. Luck‘s first episode, originally previewed after the Boardwalk Empire season finale in December to 1.1 million viewers, drew another 1.1 million in its regular premiere at 9 PM on Sunday. If that were a true series debut, it would be in line with the launches of such softly rated HBO series as Treme (1.125 million) and the now-defunct Bored To Death (1.034 million). Luck was rebroadcast again at 10 PM (711,000) and 11 PM (420,000) for a total of 3.3 million sampling the pilot in the December preview and on Sunday.
Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s coverage of TCA.
HBO’s new series Luck is about horse racing, but at today’s TCA panel, the sport in question was prize-fighting — whether reported friction between the strong personalities involved in the show led to ego clashes behind the scenes. The contenders: Stars Dustin Hoffman and Nick Nolte, pilot executive producer/director Michael Mann and pilot executive producer/writer David Milch. All four acknowledged their reputations for being difficult, but insisted that peace reigns on Luck. Concerning rumors of contention on the pilot set, Mann said: “It’s ridiculous.” He explained, “There’s a time when any director wants the set to himself” and said a request to have non-participants step away at one point “got contorted into something else.” After the session, Mann said testily, “We’re not four difficult people. People who are insecure don’t have strong egos. We’re good at what we do, so we don’t have insecurity.”
David Milch is extending his relationship with HBO. Milch, whose latest series for the pay cable network, Luck, launches in January, has inked a new multi-year deal with HBO where he has been based for the past eight years. Under the new extension, in addition to executive producing Luck with Michael Mann, Milch will develop series and movies based on books by Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winner William Falkner. Milch’s Redboard Prods has inked a deal with the literary estate of the iconic American writer who penned novels, short stories, a play and screenplays as well as poetry and essays. The pact covers all of the 19 novels and 125 short stories in the estate, as well as other works, with the exception of those currently optioned by other parties. Milch will partner with Lee Caplin, the executor of the William Faulkner Literary Estate and CEO of Picture Entertainment Corp, to choose which works to develop, package and produce. Milch and Caplin will be executive producers of those projects, with Milch serving as the executive writer in charge of the adaptions. His daughter Olivia Milch will serve as coordinating producer. The agreement, brokered by ICM, which reps Milch, gives HBO an exclusive first crack at financing, producing and distributing the projects as movies, miniseries and series. “We are especially pleased to continue our longstanding relationship with one of the industry’s most talented contemporary writers,” HBO president of programming Michael Lombardo said. “We know that whatever David brings to the HBO table will be exciting and innovative.”
HBO has picked up talk show Real Time With Bill Maher for a 10th season, the pay cable network announced today at the top of its portion of the summer TCA press tour. Maher recently landed another Emmy nomination for best Variety, Music or Comedy Series, the 27th Emmy nom overall for his HBO series, which is still pursuing its first win. Maher made a brief appearance. “I’m here representing the Hollywood elite,” he said before introducing HBO toppers Co-President Richard Plepler and president of programming Michael Lombardo.
-Lombardo said that Luck, Michael Mann/David Milch’s race track drama, will premiere at the beginning of January and will take over the slot vacated by the departed HBO polygamy drama Big Love. Other premiere date news: Sunday, Sept. 25 (Boardwalk Empire), Oct. 2 (Hung, How to Make It in America), Monday, Oct. 10, (Bored to Death,Enlightened). Lombardo said that HBO brass are “nervously optimistic” about opening a new night of originals on Monday.
-The 2008 drama series The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency is not dead. Lombardo said that the network has just received a couple of new scripts for the Botswana-set drama and are considering continuing it as 2 or more standalone films.
-Plepler and Lombardo had no ETA on when the network’s popular HBO Go on-demand service will be available on one-time corporate sibling Time Warner Cable. “We wish we had the leverage and power to move TWC,” Plepler said, urging customers to put pressure on the cable company. “We’re working as fast as we can to finish the deal.”
-Plepler called the TV Academy’s recent decision to merge the best original movie and miniseries categories “disappointing for us.” “It prevents some writers, director, producers from being recognized but there is nothing we can do about it.” Added Lombardo, “They are 2 distinct genres. (The TV Academy has) separate categories for different kinds of reality shows and yet there is one combined for movies and miniseries. But it is what it is.”
Here is a first look at HBO’s upcoming horse racing drama series Luck from Michael Mann and David Milch. Set to premiere in the fall, it stars Dustin Hoffman and co-stars Dennis Farina, John Ortiz and Nick Nolte. Joan Allen and Michael Gambon are recurring.
HBO has ordered the Dustin Hoffman-starring pilot Luck to series. Luck, from Michael Mann and David Milch, takes a provocative look at horse racing – the owners, gamblers, jockeys and diverse gaming industry players. Production is set to begin …