This Weeknd, ‘The Idol’s’ first season ends on HBO as renewal status remains unclear

Lily-Rose Depp and Abel "The Weeknd" Tesfaye sit close together while looking at something written on a yellow notepad.
Lily-Rose Depp and Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye star in HBO’s drama “The Idol.”
(Eddy Chen / HBO)
Share via

HBO’s controversial music industry drama “The Idol” concludes its debut season after just five episodes this weekend — and some viewers are divided.

Twitter users voiced their love, or contempt, for the Sam Levinson series after news of the season’s end surfaced Tuesday. “The Idol,” starring Lily-Rose Depp and Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye, was originally ordered for a six-episode season in 2021 but will conclude Sunday with its fifth episode, The Times confirmed.

“Very happy the idol is ending,” Twitter user and writer Micaela Walley wrote. “It is the worst show I have seen in a long time & I have a high tolerance for really bad tv shows.”


‘The Idol’ star Lily-Rose Depp opened up about working with Abel ‘the Weeknd’ Tesfaye ahead of the premiere of the controversial HBO series.

June 4, 2023

“Everyone on this app hates The Idol but I like it and I’m sad it’s ending with 5 episodes,” @sarahstarlord wrote on Twitter.

“The idol finally ending now people can stop talking about that trash show,” @itSethv tweeted.

“The Idol’s” weekend finale, first reported by TVLine, stirred up speculation among fans, with some claiming the controversy surrounding the series and negative reviews resulted in its “early” end. A source familiar with the production said that the pivot from six to five episodes was unrelated to the series’ perception.

HBO’s ‘The Idol’ is meant to be a satire about the excesses of fame, celebrity worship and the objectification of underage talent, but it fails to succeed.

June 27, 2023

Instead, it was a result of Levinson taking over the series from original director Amy Seimetz, who abruptly departed the series in 2022. Only five episodes were necessary for Levinson’s version of “The Idol” story, The Times was told.

“The Idol” heads into its Season 1 finale with an uncertain future at HBO. Earlier this month, HBO publicity refuted reports that “a decision on a second season of The Idol has been determined.”

As of Tuesday, HBO has not yet opted to renew or cancel “The Idol,” The Times can confirm.


Created by Levinson, Tesfaye and Reza Fahim, “The Idol” follows tormented pop star Jocelyn (Depp), who is determined to regain her stardom, and her relationship with sleazy nightclub owner Tedros (Tesfaye).

The Weeknd is getting dragged for his Wednesday response to Rolling Stone’s ‘The Icon’ exposé claiming HBO’s production is plagued with issues.

March 2, 2023

“The Idol” premiered on June 4 after an allegedly rocky production process. In March, Rolling Stone reported that “The Idol” was beset with constant filming delays, reshoots, rewrites and other setbacks. The series has also faced backlash for its sinister and explicit sex scenes.

Times television critic Lorraine Ali writes, “‘The Idol’ is so bad that it’s given HBO a new distinction: home of the year’s most ill-conceived prestige drama.”