For better or worse, it looks as though the path of unruly controversy left in the wake of drama series The Idol has come to a screeching halt after it was confirmed that the show has been officially killed off.

American network HBO has always been known for pushing the boundaries of acceptable convention where home entertainment is concerned via projects such as Sex and The City and Succession. 

But no other IP under its belt has proven to be nearly as incendiary as The Idol, which first caught attention for an ensemble cast that most notably featured Abel Tesfaye aka The Weeknd in his debut television role, alongside Lily-Rose Depp and JENNIE from BLACKPINK.

“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.” said a spokesperson from HBO on account of the cancellation. This came after confusion swirled regarding whether the series would be renewed for a second season, or was meant to only serve as a mini-series with no prospect of a future.

‘The Idol’ cancelled after one season 

The initial proposition sounded promising in its formulation: director Amy Seimetz of The Girlfriend Experience fame was tapped to direct the series as a satirical take on the Hollywood machine and had completed approximately 80 percent of the project’s filming before her abrupt departure.

Tesfaye, who served as co-creator and executive producer on the show, reportedly claimed that the original narrative of the series leaned too heavily into the ‘female perspective’, with HBO acknowledging a significant reworking of the show’s plot as a consequence.

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Image credit: The Weeknd/Instagram

Sam Levinson was later roped in to replace Seimetz, who took to intensifying The Idol’s provocative value considerably and drawing parallels to the considerable success witnessed in his previous HBO project, Euphoria.

Gone was the initial premise of depicting a troubled starlet trying to navigate her way through the labyrinthine excess of Tinstletown, replaced with what many have described to be a sadomasochistic sexual abuse ‘torture porn’ fantasy involving the skewed power dynamics between fresh-faced A-lister on the rise and her cult-leader squeeze.

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Image credit: The Weeknd/Instagram

While already contentious enough in its own right, The Idol courted further scrutiny from the press after toxic workplace allegations were reported on set by Rolling Stone magazine. The flames were only fanned by Tesfaye, who responded to the claims with a defiant clip on X, which saw him calling the publication ‘irrelevant’.

While shock marketing initially drummed up interest in the show, audience reception has been overwhelmingly negative since The Idol‘s release, with a lowly 19% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. In fact, HBO even shortened the series to five episodes from its initial six-episode run.

Feature and hero image credits: The Weeknd/Instagram

This story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Kuala Lumpur

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Here’s Why ‘The Idol’ Was Cancelled After One Season By Max
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