The answer? They couldn't.
HBO has picked up the new drama series "Luck" to begin shooting this fall at Santa Anita Park and other locations in and around Los Angeles.
Scripted by "Deadwood" mastermind Milch and directed by "Miami Vice" and "Collateral" master-stylist Mann, "Luck" is described as "a provocative look at horse racing – the owners, gamblers, jockeys and diverse gaming industry players."
In addition to Hoffman and Nolte, the pilot stars Dennis Farina, John Ortiz, Kevin Dunn, Richard Kind, Jason Gedrick, Ritchie Coster, Ian Hart, Tom Payne, Kerry Condon and Gary Stevens. Jill Hennessy guests in the pilot.
"Michael Mann delivered a pilot from David Milch’s brilliant script that took our breath away," states HBO Programming President Michael Lombardo "We are truly excited that these two artists, and our extraordinary cast headed by Dustin Hoffman, will be bringing 'Luck' to life."
Mann and Milch will both executive produce along with Carolyn Stauss. Henry Bronchtein will serve as co-executive producer, while Hoffman will be a producer on the series.
In addition to "Deadwood," Milch's relationship with HBO includes the one-season run of "John From Cincinnati."
Most observers had already moved "Luck" into the pick-up column when Hoffman and Nolte made the decision to make their first regular TV series commitments. "Luck" joins September's "Boardwalk Empire" and next year's "Game of Thrones" on a slate of highly anticipated new dramas from HBO.