HBO Cancels The Weeknd’s ‘The Idol’ After Just Five Episodes and One Season

HBO cancels The Idol
  • Save

HBO cancels The Idol
  • Save
Photo Credit: Eddy Chen / HBO

HBO has canceled The Weeknd’s drama series ‘The Idol’ after only five episodes. The series suffered primarily negative reviews and sub-par viewership.

The Sam Levinson-helmed HBO series “The Idol” starring Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye and Lily-Rose Depp has been passed over for a second season and canceled after only five episodes. The series suffered primarily negative reviews from critics while viewership remained sub-par.

“‘The Idol’ was one of HBO’s most provocative original programs, and we’re pleased by the strong audience response,” says HBO in a statement that reads as if it were written about a different show.

“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.”

While rumors had surfaced that the show would be canceled months ago, sources say the decision was up in the air until recently. Although there was “no set plan” for the series to be a multi-season story, there were options considered to continue the show after the end of the initially planned six-episode season.

The show, created by Levinson, Tesfaye, and Reza Fahim, underwent significant changes partway through production in April 2022, when director and executive producer Amy Seimetz and multiple cast members left, leading to extensive reshoots, with Levinson taking over as director for the entire season.

Three months ahead of the series premiere, Rolling Stone reported on a cacophony of issues with the production, including last-minute rewrites pushing what some of the production crew felt was “an overemphasis on the toxic relationship” between the characters played by Depp and Tesfaye. HBO and Tesfaye pushed back on the allegations, which Tesfaye called “ridiculous.”

“The Idol” reeled in 913,000 viewers across all platforms for its premiere night on HBO on June 4, with the audience for the first episode growing to 3.6 million after a week, though first-night ratings for subsequent episodes dwindled. HBO has yet to release a figure for the entire five-episode run but says that in the 85 days since the series premiered, the first episode has increased to 7 million viewers.