The internet loves to hate “The Idol,” but that doesn’t mean the show’s future has been set in stone. HBO has denied a report from Page Six claiming that Sam Levinson and The Weeknd’s controversial drama series will not return for a second season.
“It is being misreported that a decision on a second season of ‘The Idol’ has been determined,” HBO’s official PR Twitter account tweeted on Thursday, hours after Page Six’s report. “It has not, and we look forward to sharing the next episode with you Sunday night.”
Page Six’s story quoted two anonymous sources close to the production. One source claimed that The Weeknd, or Abel Tesfaye, was not planning a second season of the series, and that the show was always “intended to be a limited series.” HBO has not explicitly marketed “The Idol” as a limited series, so it’s unclear if that account is accurate. Another source told Page Six that “The door is definitely still open,” and HBO was still waiting for a decision to be made on the show.
HBO and series creators The Weeknd and Levinson, best known for creating “Euphoria,” clearly had high hopes for “The Idol,” even scoring it a rare-for-a-TV-show premiere at the Cannes Film Festival. But the show has been the subject of widespread scrutiny due to several reports alleging behind the scenes issues during production.
The Weeknd and Levinson, best known for creating HBO’s hit “Euphoria,” allegedly fired the initial director Amy Seimetz over creative disagreements and retooled the series to focus less on the perspective of main character Jocelyn (Lily-Rose Depp), a pop star dealing with a public scandal, and more on The Weeknd’s character Tedros, a self-help guru and cult leader. The change caused significant delays in production, and a report from Rolling Stone in March claimed that several crew members on the show were unsatisfied with the direction the two took the show in, blasting it for misogynistic writing.
When the show premiered, reviews were largely negative, with criticisms toward its awkward sex scenes, shallow writing, and The Weeknd’s performance. The show debuted with solid but unspectacular ratings (913,000 across linear and streaming), and fell by 12 percent in its second episode.
Aside from The Weeknd and Depp, “The Idol” also stars Suzanna Son, Troye Sivan, and Jane Adams, with Blackpink member Jennie, Rachel Sennott, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Dan Levy, and Hank Azaria in recurring roles. The Weeknd and Levinson created the series with Reza Fahim, and the three executive produce with Kevin Turen, Ashley Levinson, Sara E. White, Joe Epstein, and Aaron Gilbert.