Was ‘The Idol’ Canceled? The Reason the Max Show Was Cut Short

Was it the rumors, harsh critiques, or declining viewership that led 'The Idol' to end early? Read on for the truth and the show's potential fate.

Emma Saletta - Author

Jun. 28 2023, Updated 12:33 p.m. ET

Lily-Rose Depp and Abel "The Weeknd" Tesfaye in Season 1 – Episode 3 of ‘The Idol’
Source: HBO

After The Weeknd showed his fans the series teaser for his new show The Idol during his Las Vegas show in summer 2022, they were excited for its premiere. Unfortunately, that excitement for the show — which premiered in June 2023 — has since died down, as the show is not what critics and audiences thought it would be. In fact, it seems to be far from it. Did that leads Max to cancel The Idol?

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A reviewer from The Hollywood Reporter referred to the show as “the stuff of a toxic man’s fantasy,” and called it an “even more stylized version of Euphoria’s second season” shortly afterward. Audiences also reacted harshly to the show on social media, with one user on Twitter describing The Idol as “so bad” with an “overly produced boring pilot.”

Mitch Modes, Moses Sumney, Rachel Sennott, Troye Sivan, Abel "The Weeknd" Tesfaye, and Lily-Rose Depp in Season 1 of ‘The Idol’
Source: HBO

Mitch Modes, Moses Sumney, Rachel Sennott, Troye Sivan, Abel "The Weeknd" Tesfaye, and Lily-Rose Depp in Season 1 of ‘The Idol’

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Following the harsh critiques, viewership has declined, and The Idol already experienced a 12 percent viewership decrease by Episode 2. Whether the show is actually canceled after its first season however is a different story, which is why we’re going to investigate The Idol, and what factors may have helped the show go wrong in everyone’s eyes.

Let's explore.

Was ‘The Idol’ canceled?

Following a viewership drop and possible development and production drama, rumors began circulating after sources told Page Six that The Weeknd would not be planning a second season of The Idol. However, that may not be the case after all.

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The HBO PR Twitter page confirmed on June 15 that no decisions have been made regarding the future of the show, and that they are continuing to look forward in sharing new episodes of the show. The Weeknd and Sam have not commented on these rumors, and the show's star Lily-Rose Depp has continued to do nothing but stand by the show, and thank them for choosing her to play Jocelyn.

‘The Idol’ was ordered in 2021, two years before entering danger of being canceled.

Cancellation rumors are still no shock after all that has gone down with the show.

The creation and production of The Idol became a mess in the months after the show was ordered in November 2021. However, Rolling Stone reported that when Euphoria creator Sam Levinson took over as director in 2022, he scrapped the almost finished $54-$75 million project, and opted to rewrite and reshoot everything The Idol was already becoming.

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The original director Amy Seimetz exited the series in April 2022 with the show moving in a “new creative direction.” However, once Deadline reported that The Weeknd wasn’t happy that it was leaning too much into a “female perspective,” it appeared as if that opinion played a huge role in why Amy left the project.

Meanwhile, The Idol producers claimed that production was “chaotic, full of half-written scripts and reshot scenes.”

Season 1 of 'The Idol' was cut from its original six episode count down to five.

On June 26, 2023, The Weeknd hit fans with some surprising news on Instagram. The Canadian singer shared a clip from The Idol along with the caption, "ONE MORE EPISODE." He tagged the show's official Instagram page and added, "Ep.5." The episode count was initially set at six episodes, per TVLine, but now appears to be ending a week early.

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A source told TVLine, “The season ended up being five episodes when it was all said and done after Sam [Levinson] took over and made significant changes. The story only ended up requiring 5.”

The final episode of The Idol, titled “Jocelyn Forever,” will air on Sunday, July 2, at 9 p.m. ET on Max, and all released episodes are available to stream.

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