HBO’s Controversial Series “The Idol” Canceled After One Season

HBO’s series “The Idol,” a collaboration between Sam Levinson and Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye, has faced its final curtain call as it gets canceled after its debut season.

Despite generating strong audience reactions, HBO, in conjunction with the creators and producers, made the decision not to proceed with a second season. The show’s cancellation follows a season of mixed reception and internal uncertainties.

HBO's Controversial Series "The Idol" Canceled After One Season: Insights and Impact

The Decision and Background of the Cancellation

Following a concise five-episode first season that concluded on July 2 (shortened from the intended six episodes), “The Idol” encountered ambiguity regarding its future. Cast members and viewers alike were left in doubt about the possibility of a continuation.

While star Moses Sumney believed he signed on for a limited series, Da’Vine Joy Randolph expressed that she anticipated a second season. Amidst rumors of cancellation, HBO addressed the matter on social media, clarifying that no update had been confirmed.

Co-created by Sam Levinson and Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye, who also starred alongside Lily-Rose Depp, “The Idol” garnered attention prior to its premiere. The series underwent significant reshoots and a change of directors, with Amy Seimetz exiting and Levinson stepping in.

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Additionally, the production encountered controversy with allegations of a toxic set environment, which garnered further attention after “The Weeknd” responded via a deleted scene from the show.

Critically, “The Idol” faced challenges, amassing a mere 19% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Variety’s review categorized the series as a “sordid male fantasy.”

Viewership and Reception

The series debuted with 913,000 viewers, which was 17% less than the 2019 launch of Levinson’s other HBO show, “Euphoria.” However, viewership increased to 3.6 million after the episode’s initial full week of availability, ultimately reaching a total of 7 million.

The second episode experienced a slight decline with 800,000 viewers on its premiere night. HBO refrained from disclosing viewership data for the remainder of the series.


Q1: Why was “The Idol” canceled after one season?

Despite a strong audience response, HBO, in collaboration with the creators and producers, chose not to proceed with a second season for “The Idol.” The decision followed mixed reviews and uncertainties about the show’s future.

Q2: What controversies surrounded “The Idol” before and after its debut?

The Idol encountered reshoots, a change in directors, and allegations of a toxic set environment. “The Weeknd” also responded to controversy via a deleted scene from the show.