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The Weeknd's 'The Idol' Has Been Cancelled After Just One Season

29 August 2023 | 10:37 am | Jessie Lynch

“After much thought and consideration, HBO, as well as the creators and producers have decided not to move forward with a second season."

The Idol

The Idol (HBO)

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The Idol — HBO’s controversial series by Euphoria’s Sam Levinson and Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye — has been cancelled after just one season.

A spokesperson for HBO announced the news on Tuesday (Aug. 29), saying: “The Idol was one of HBO’s most provocative original programs, and we’re pleased by the strong audience response.”

“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.”

It comes after rumours swirled back in June that the show was on the chopping block after season one concluded after just five episodes, shortened from the originally planned six-episode run.

In case you haven’t yet caught the series, which is currently streaming on Binge, the synopsis reads: “After a nervous breakdown derailed Jocelyn’s (Lily-Rose Depp) last tour, she’s determined to claim her rightful status as the greatest and sexiest pop star in America. 

"Her passions are reignited by Tedros (Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye), a nightclub impresario with a sordid past. Will her romantic awakening take her to glorious new heights or the deepest and darkest depths of her soul?”

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The Idol also starred Moses Sumney, Troye Sivan, Blackpink’s Jennie, and more, and featured an original soundtrack from The Weeknd.

The show’s cancellation isn’t overly surprising, considering the series had been marred by controversy since the get-go, with allegations that filming “disturbing” sexual content and "torture porn" worsened after Levinson came on board.

Original showrunner Amy Seimetz (The Girlfriend Experience) departed the project after 80% of the scenes were filmed.

A source told Rolling Stone that Seimetz had been handed a “shit stack” by HBO, with half-finished scripts and a tight schedule putting her in an “impossible situation”.

The Idol went through numerous rewrites and reshoots. One source told Rolling Stone “It was a show about a woman who was finding herself sexually, turned into a show about a man who gets to abuse this woman, and she loves it."

Another likened The Idol to "any rape fantasy that any toxic man would have in the show — and then the woman comes back for more because it makes her music better.”

Following the damning article, Levinson said at the Cannes Film Festival that the story made him realise the show would be “the biggest show of the summer.”

Despite the allegations against Levinson, Lily-Rose Depp said that Levinson was “the best director” she had ever worked with in a statement to Rolling Stone.

The Weeknd, meanwhile, took to social media following the article’s release, sharing a clip from the series where he called the publication “irrelevant.” He captioned the video: “Rolling Stone did we upset you?”

Tesfaye and Levinson have not yet commented amid news of the series cancellation.