NPR : Fresh Air

David Milch: Trying His 'Luck' With Horse Racing

Play associated audio

Veteran TV writer and producer David Milch grew up in Buffalo, N.Y. But a few times each year, Milch would accompany his father across the state to Saratoga Springs, where the two would bet on horse races.

"The first thing he informed me was that he knew that I was a degenerate gambler ... but it would be impossible for me to gamble because you had to be 18 to make a bet," Milch tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies. "On the other hand, he had arranged with the waiter, Max, to run my bets for me, and, therefore, I would be able to bet. And with that set of mixed messages, I was off."

Milch's lifelong fascination with the races forms the basis for his new HBO series Luck, which examines the inside world of horse racing through the lives of thoroughbred breeders, owners, jockeys and gamblers who spend most of their lives at the track. Many of the characters, says Milch, came from his own recollections and his own struggles with a gambling addiction.

"Once you enter into that world, your chemistry changes, and your chemistry changes in the same ways it would if you became a drug addict," he says. "The paradox is, as all of this alternation is going on, you still have the opportunities and challenges of being a human being. That's the rest of the story: how to be a human being, and the fascination with how these people live their lives."

Milch has a history of creating groundbreaking television series. The first TV script he wrote, for Hill Street Blues, won an Emmy. He co-created NYPD Blue and was also the creator of the HBO series Deadwood, known for its colorful characters, intricate plot lines and distinctive dialogue. He has an MFA from the Iowa Writers Workshop.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

'Top Gear' Team Signs Deal With Amazon; New Car Show Set For 2016

The trio left the BBC under a cloud, after Jeremy Clarkson's contract was not renewed because of a physical and verbal attack on a show producer.
NPR

Do Fish Names Encourage Fishy Business?

Legally, a single fish species can go by many names from sea to plate, and different fish can go by the same name. An environmental group says that hampers efforts to combat illegal fishing and fraud.
WAMU 88.5

A Congressional Attempt To Speed The Development Of Lifesaving Treatments

Earlier this month, the House of Representatives passed the 21st Century Cures Act in a rare bi-partisan effort. The bill is meant to speed the development of lifesaving treatments, but critics warn it may also allow ineffective or even harmful drugs onto the market.

NPR

Obama Orders Development Of Supercomputer To Rival China's 'Milky Way'

It is hoped that the new supercomputer, expected to go online by 2025, would be the first to "exascale" machine — some 20 times faster than today's fastest machine.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.