It looks like the controversial drama, “The Idol,” is one and done at HBO. Per The Hollywood Reporter, the show has been canceled and won’t be returning for another season. The series comes from “Euphoria” creator Sam Levinson, Abel Tesfaye (aka The Weeknd), and Reza Fahim. It starred Lily-Rose Depp as a pop star, Jocelyn, recovering from a nervous breakdown and attempting to revive her career. She then meets a charismatic club owner and cult leader, Tedros, who attempts to seduce Jocelyn and assert control over her life.
‘The Idol’ Gets The Axe From HBO After One Season
The new series was savaged by critics, scoring 19% on Rotten Tomatoes. The series also went through a tumultuous production period, where the series was about 80% complete with production before what was filmed was scrapped and later reshot, per Slash Film. The series reportedly went through major creative overhauls, with the original director, Amy Seimetz (“The Girlfriend Experience,” “She Dies Tomorrow”) leaving the production.
According to Slash Film’s earlier report, Levinson himself took over as director of the series, helming all five episodes and serving as the main writer. The project’s budget was said to be in the range of $54-$75 million, and filming was nearly complete before the finished material was scrapped. Several of the original cast members also departed from the show before it underwent extensive reshoots.
THR notes that an HBO spokesperson said in a statement, “‘The Idol’ was one of HBO’s most provocative original programs, and we’re pleased by the strong audience response.” It continued, “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.”
Additionally, THR reports that a decision on the show’s future was up in the air until recently. While no plan was in place for a multi-seasonal arc for the show, there were said to be options for it to continue following its initial five-episode run. Da’Vine Joy Randolph, who co-starred in the series as Jocelyn’s co-manager Destiny, also revealed earlier that the show was not scheduled to be a limited series.
The show initially premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May, later debuting on HBO in June. The show drew 913,000 viewers with its series premiere across all platforms. It later grew to as high as 3.6 million viewers after first-week viewing. However, THR notes that the show’s first-night audience viewership declined following the premiere. The first episode grew to as high as seven million viewers since its initial launch.
One reason the cancelation is interesting is that it’s fairly rare for an HBO original series to get canceled after only one season. Some other notable HBO shows canceled after one season include “John From Cincinnati,” “Luck,” “Vinyl,” “Here and Now,” “Lovecraft Country,” and “The Nevers.” HBO originals tend to have a reputation of becoming prestige television shows. For example, “The Last of Us,” based on Naughty Dog’s hit video game franchise, was a global smash hit and was handed a quick renewal following its January premiere. As reported by The Blast, the show was also renewed after only two episodes had aired earlier this year.
“The Idol” also starred Dan Levy, Rachel Sennott, and Hank Azaria. Levinson, Tesfaye, and Fahim served as the show’s executive producers. The full series is available to stream now on Max.