The Idol is one and done at HBO.
The controversial series from Euphoria creator Sam Levinson and Abel Tesfaye, better known as The Weeknd, will not be returning for a second season.
More from Deadline
It’s not a huge surprise given the critical and commercial reception of the show, which starred Tesfaye and Lily-Rose Depp. It also came after extensive reshoots following the departure of director Amy Seimetz, as revealed by Deadline in April 2022, and a reduced order taking its total number of episodes to five.
Some of the cast did mention the possibility of a second season during interviews, though show insiders said that creators did not come into the production process with a plan for a multi-season arc.
Da’Vine Joy Randolph, who played one of the managers of Depp’s pop star Jocelyn, previously said that the first season was left intentionally open-ended for the possibility of a second.
“The Idol was one of HBO’s most provocative original programs, and we’re pleased by the strong audience response,” said an HBO spokeswoman. “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.”
HBO only released viewing data for the first two episodes. The premiere reportedly drew a same-day audience of 913,000 across HBO and Max, while the second episode dipped slightly to 800,000. According to HBO, the decrease in Week 2 came from linear viewing, not from viewing on Max — which makes sense considering the series likely was targeting a younger demographic than the typical linear TV viewer.
At the time, Nielsen reported that The Idol viewers on Max were tracking 21 years younger than viewers via the HBO channel, a wider disparity than the typical HBO drama.
After a week on Max, viewing for the first episode had ballooned to 3.6M. HBO said that outpaced the series premieres for both The White Lotus (3M in 2021) and Euphoria (3.3M in 2019) in the same time period. By the end of Season 1, the average episodic audience was 6.6M for Euphoria. As for The White Lotus, its Season 1 episodes grew to about 9.3M viewers.
However, while critical and audience reception of Euphoria and The White Lotus largely was positive, the same cannot be said of The Idol. By the time that the final episode aired just a month later, the overwhelming sentiment around the show was negative. This was likely to have severely impacted viewing habits.
Co-created by Levinson, Tesfaye and Reza Fahim, the series premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May.
Here’s the logline: After a nervous breakdown derailed Jocelyn’s (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 (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?
Troye Sivan also starred along with Randolph, Dan Levy, Eli Roth, Hari Nef, Jane Adams, Jennie Ruby Jane, Mike Dean, Moses Sumney, Rachel Sennott, Ramsey, Suzanna Son and Hank Azaria.
Levinson, Tesfaye and Fahim executive produced with Kevin Turen, Ashley Levinson, Joseph Epstein, Aaron L. Gilbert for Bron, and Sara E. White. Levinson also directed. The series was produced in partnership with A24.
Best of Deadline