“The Idol” — HBO’s controversy-ridden series from Sam Levinson and Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye — has been canceled after one season.
“’The Idol’ was one of HBO’s most provocative original programs, and we’re pleased by the strong audience response,” said a spokesperson for HBO. “After much thought and consideration, HBO, as well as the creators and producers have decided not to move forward with a second season. We’re grateful to the creators, cast, and crew for their incredible work.”
Season 1 concluded — after just five episodes, shortened from the originally planned six-episode run — on July 2. The decision to cancel the series was made recently after a lack of clarity for both viewers and cast members about whether the series had the potential to continue.
Created by Levinson and the Weeknd, with the Weeknd starring opposite Lily-Rose Depp, “The Idol” began making headlines well before its debut. In April 2022, news broke that Amy Seimetz had exited as director and would be replaced by Levinson as the series underwent significant reshoots. Then, a March 2023 Rolling Stone report detailed serious allegations about a toxic set, which the Weeknd responded to by posting a deleted scene where his character described Rolling Stone as “irrelevant.” At the Cannes Film Festival, Levinson said the article made him realize the show would be “the biggest show of the summer.”
Overall, “The Idol” was poorly received, with a 19% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
It premiered with 913,000 viewers — 17% fewer than the 2019 launch of “Euphoria,” another HBO show hailing from Levinson that targeted a young adult audience, with fewer celebrity attached at the time of release. However, that number did grow to 3.6 million viewers after the episode’s first full week of availability, and now sits at 7 million. Episode 2 fell to 800,000 viewers on its first night.
Throughout the rest of the series’ run, HBO declined to share viewership data. S: Variety