​Promo still from 'The Idol,' Eddy Chen/HBO.
Promo still from 'The Idol,' Eddy Chen/HBO.

HBO Cancels Controversial The Weeknd & Sam Levinson Show ‘The Idol’ After One Season

The Weeknd and Sam Levinson-created show, The Idol has been canceled at HBO following its five-episode first season, which premiered in June.

It’s a wrap for The Weeknd and Sam Levinson-created musical drama, The Idol. A little over two months after the show premiered on HBO, it was announced that the five-episode inaugural season would be its last. The first season was originally slated to have six episodes, but plans were scrapped after the show garnered negative critic reviews and misunderstandings between cast members about its future.

In June, HBO’s PR account put all rumors to rest on X/Twitter, posting that information about the show’s second season had been “misreported.”

Eventually, news surfaced that The Idol took its final bow with season finale, "Jocelyn Forever,” which aired July 2.

’”The Idol’ was one of HBO’s most provocative original programs, and we’re pleased by the strong audience response,” said a spokesperson for HBO, per Variety. “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.”

Reports about conflict on The Idol set came months ahead of the show’s arrival, as original director Amy Seimetz exited the project, which underwent significant reshoots after her departure. Rolling Stone wrote extensively about the production being “toxic” and “misogynistic,” detailing that one scripted scene required lead character Jocelyn to carry an egg in her vagina. Ultimately, the shoot was unable to be done, but the show still moved forth with lewd scenes of torture, masturbation, spanking and punishment.

After waving off Rolling Stone’s exposés, The Weeknd, born Abel Tesfaye, told GQ that regardless of negative reviews, he was pleased with viewers engaging with The Idol.

“I just think discussion is healthy, no matter what. To me it’s like, I’m just happy that there’s conversation. That’s important for anything I do, especially this new medium that I’m in,” he said.