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Sam Levinson’s ‘The Idol’ Cancelled, HBO Confirms

Are we really that surprised?
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Arguably this year’s most controversial show, The Idol, has been canned by HBO after only five episodes. 

The limited series, which was already cut down from a six-episode run, has officially been axed by its production company, and will not proceed with a second season.

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

Rumblings of cancellation started during the show’s run, when early reports suggested the raunchy series could be headed for the chopping block after the second episode attracted significantly less viewers than the first. 

According to the Hollywood Reporter, the second episode drew 800,000 viewers  12% less than the 913,000 people who tuned in for episode one. 

A scene from episode two of ‘The Idol’. (Credit: Image: The Idol)

These stats – alongside widespread mockery from viewers thanks to The Weeknd’s performance in that shocking sex scene – had many of us questioning whether the series would be picked up for a second season.

However, a source previously told Page Six, “This was never meant to be a long-running show, it was always … a limited series.”

An insider at HBO also told the publication, “The door is definitely still open — it’s definitely not a decision [yet]. At this point, this is normal in our process… we’re only two episodes in.”

The source also commented on viewers’ reactions to the show’s outrageously raunchy content, adding, “It’s a Sam Levinson show, and you know what you’re getting with a Sam Levinson show.”

The Weeknd, Lily-Rose Depp, and Sam Levinson. (Credit: Image: Getty)

A third show source told Page Six that working with The Weeknd (real name: Abel Tesfaye), who co-stars in and co-created the series, was “not an ideal experience … and not one I am eager to repeat.”

Allegations like these are not new: before the series even hit our screens, it was the subject of a Rolling Stone exposé after claims of toxic leadership and problematic sex scenes emerged.

The article was based on interviews with 13 cast and crew members, and detailed a host of problematic claims. One insider, for example, claimed, “What I signed up for was a dark satire of fame and the fame model in the 21st century. It went from satire to the thing it was satirising.”

Despite early rumours, HBO initially shut down claims the show wouldn’t be renewed for a second season, tweeting:

“It is being misreported that a decision on a second season of The Idol has been determined. It has not, and we look forward to sharing the next episode with you Sunday night.”

Unfortunately for fans, the decision to cancel has now been reached. 

Where To Watch The Idol In Australia

If you still want to catch up on the year’s most controversial series, The Idol is currently available to stream on BINGE.

Stream The Idol now on BINGE with a 14-day free trial. Subscribe here.

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