A lot has recently been revealed about the forthcoming HBO show The Idol, known for being spearheaded by Abel Tesfaye, aka The Weeknd. He co-created it alongside Euphoria director Sam Levinson and Reza Fahim, and there’s a lot to unpack about the controversial, long-awaited series. From intensely spicy trailers to a confusing timeline of its release, find information about The Idol below.
There remains no release date. In Rolling Stone‘s new bombshell report about the show, it was reported, “One source with knowledge of the production schedule tells Rolling Stone the network initially hoped for The Idol to premiere last fall, taking over the Sunday time slot left open by House of the Dragon, which ended in October. Yet three teaser trailers have come and gone, and HBO can still only offer a vague ‘later this year.’ (A rep for the network declined to comment on when the show will air.)”
The Weeknd and Lily-Rose Depp are the leads. Other actors include Suzanna Son, Troye Sivan, Moses Sumney, Jane Adams, Dan Levy, Jennie Kim, Eli Roth, Rachel Sennott, Melanie Liburd, Tunde Adebimpe, Elizabeth Berkley Lauren, Nico Hiraga, and the late Anne Heche. There will also be a feature from Jennie of Blackpink.
The Idol, in six episodes, follows the story of “a self-help guru and leader of a modern-day cult, who develops a complicated relationship with an up-and-coming pop idol.” The trailer boasts it as “the sleaziest love story” from “the sick and twisted minds of the Creator of Euphoria Sam Levinson and Abel ‘The Weekend’ Tesfaye.”
In April of last year, they announced a “new creative direction,” which included the departure of director Amy Seimetz. Still, The Weeknd teased trailers during his After Hours Til Dawn Tour last summer.
An anonymous source told Rolling Stone that Tesfaye was not happy with the story’s “feminist lens.” “It was like The Weeknd wanted one show that was all about him — Sam was on board with that,” they told the publication. Another source said, “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 satirizing.”
“It was like, ‘What is this? What am I reading here,’” the source added. “It was like sexual torture porn.” Leaked scripts portrayed disturbing, violent scenes involving physical abuse and rape fantasies. “It was a show about a woman who was finding herself sexually, turned into a show about a man who gets to abuse this woman and she loves it,” the source said.