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The Idol - over before it ever really started

The Idol no more: Lily-Rose Depp poses at a press call for the show at Cannes film festival in May
The Idol no more: Lily-Rose Depp poses at a press call for the show at Cannes film festival in May Copyright Stephane Cardinale/Corbis via Getty Images
Copyright Stephane Cardinale/Corbis via Getty Images
By Saskia O'Donoghue
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The hugely controversial show has been cancelled by HBO following one of the roughest launches in television history.

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In news that will come as no surprise to anyone, 'The Idol' has been cancelled after just one season.

Sam Levinson and Abel ‘The Weeknd’ Tesfaye’s brainchild was dogged by controversy throughout its five episode run on HBO.

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

Perhaps it was a all just a little too provocative. Starring Tesfaye alongside Lily-Rose Depp, the show was a laughing stock from the beginning, with Tesfaye's acting heavily criticised alongside the clunky script and reviews calling it “sordid” and “one of the worst programs ever made”.

On Rotten Tomatoes, it has an approval rating of just 19%.

As soon as the season, cut from six episodes to 5, came to an end on 2 July, there were instant rumours it wouldn’t be back.

In fact, it was arguably over before it had even started.

The show followed pop star Jocelyn, played by Lily-Rose Depp, who’s working towards a career comeback following a nervous breakdown. She meets Tesfaye’s character Tedros, a cult leader, and the pair fall into a toxic dynamic.

The show was controversial from the off, making headlines long before it hit TV screens with critics and the public alike deriding it from the start.

It was possibly doomed from the very beginning.

In early 2022, Amy Seimetz left the project and was replaced as director by 'Euphoria' creator Levinson with the series undergoing significant reshoots.

In March 2023, Rolling Stone reported that the set of 'The Idol' set was a toxic environment which caused Tesfaye to release a deleted scene where his character described the publication as “irrelevant.”

Joel C Ryan/Invision
The Idol's cast promote the cancelled show at CannesJoel C Ryan/Invision

At Cannes Film Festival, Levinson said the article suggested to him that the show would be “the biggest show of the summer” - but, in the end, it was anything but.

It attracted far fewer viewers than 'Euphoria' at the start and, by the end of the run, HBO declined to share viewership data.

Throughout the show, Depp and Tesfaye’s characters would say “hello angel” ad nauseam.

This time it’s “goodbye angel” - you won’t be missed.

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