Is 'The Idol' cancelled already? We finally have an update on the show's future

Will we get a season two or is it a standalone miniseries? Is 'The Idol' cancelled? Here's everything we know so far

Is The Idol cancelled already? Pictured: Abel "The Weeknd" Tesfaye, Lily-Rose Depp HBO The Idol Season 1 - Episode 5
(Image credit: Eddy Chen/HBO)

It's only one season is but is The Idol cancelled already?

The provocative HBO series starring Lily-Rose Depp and Abel "The Weeknd" Tesfaye caused controversy before it even aired, thanks to rumors of toxicity onset, the graphicness of the show's sex scenes and that public drama between the series' star and co-creator The Weeknd and Rolling Stone magazine

And the show only prompted more gossip when it premiered on Sunday, June 4, what with all of the talk about who is The Idol based on (though many find it eerily similar to Britney's story, fans are convinced that The Idol is about Selena Gomez, who just happens to be The Weeknd's ex). 

Now it looks like that discourse has changed focus to the show's future, with cancellation rumors swirling around the scandalous series. Here's everything we know so far. 

Is 'The Idol' cancelled already? Everything we know

Yes, it looks like we're only getting one season's worth of Jocelyn and Tedros' shenanigans. On Monday, August 28, Variety reported that the HBO series had been cancelled after one season.

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

The confirmation comes after months of speculation about the show's future. On Thursday, June 15, Page Six reported that The Idol would not be returning for a second season on HBO. However, some sources claimed that the was because the series was allegedly meant to have a limited, six-part run. 

“This was never meant to be a long-running show, it was always…a limited series,” a source told the outlet. The Weeknd himself doubled down on that standalone series idea, calling The Idol a "five-hour film" in an interview with GQ.

However, yet another insider shut down the miniseries rumor, telling Page Six: “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 cancellation rumors stemmed not only from the public backlash against The Idol's gratuitous use of nudity, notably of its women actors (yet again, women cast members aren't afforded the same opportunity to hide behind prosthetic body parts as their male counterparts are), but also from the drop in ratings from week one to week two. After drawing 913,000 total viewers with its series premiere, The Idol pulled an audience of 800,000 viewers with its second episode, a 12% decrease week-on-week.

However, The Idol has benefitted from delayed viewing—i.e. people catching up on the show after it originally airs every Sunday at 9pm on HBO—with the premiere reportedly already surpassing the first-ever episodes of The White Lotus and Euphoria, the latter of which is, like The Idol, created by Sam Levinson. 

And speaking of that creator, a source told Page Six that the powers that be actually weren't shocked by the scandalous nature of Levinson's series. It’s a Sam Levinson show, and you know what you’re getting with a Sam Levinson show.”

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To make matters even more confusing about The Idol's future, HBO's PR account actually released a statement regarding the cancellation rumors, posting on Twitter: "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."

However, it looks like fans shouldn't expect more from Lily-Rose Depp's Jocelyn and Abel Tesfaye's Tedros in the future. The Idol is one and done, folks. 

Here's how to watch The Idol from anywhere in the world, in case you don't have access to Max where you live.

Christina Izzo

Christina Izzo is the Deputy Editor of My Imperfect Life. 

More generally, she is a writer-editor covering food and drink, travel, lifestyle and culture in New York City. She was previously the Features Editor at Rachael Ray In Season and Reveal, as well as the Food & Drink Editor and chief restaurant critic at Time Out New York

When she’s not doing all that, she can probably be found eating cheese somewhere.