It feels like it’s been ages since Variety first reported The Weeknd was co-creating a forthcoming HBO series, The Idol, with Euphoria‘s Sam Levinson. Enough nonsense has happened since July 2021 — scratch that, enough has happened just today, March 1 — to satisfy a six-episode arc, making it even more confusing to identify when The Idol‘s first season will actually premiere.
The Idol was already off to a rocky start. It was reported last April that the series was undergoing “an overhaul” due to a “new creative direction,” including the departure of director Amy Seimetz.
And today, Rolling Stone published a very long bombshell report detailing some very disturbing (alleged) turmoil, which one source called “a sh*tshow.” Across interviews with 13 unnamed members of The Idol‘s cast and crew, reporter Cheyenne Roundtree learned that The Weeknd “felt the show was heading too much into a ‘female perspective.’” When Levinson replaced Seimetz as director, he allegedly threw out “the nearly-finished $54-75 million project to rewrite and reshoot the entire thing.”
Roundtree added, “With Seimetz out of the picture, HBO handed the reins to Levinson, only to have him weaken the show’s overarching message, many sources say, by dialing up the disturbing sexual content and nudity to match — and even surpass — that of his most successful show, Euphoria.”
The publication additionally provided an update on when any of us might be able to watch The Idol: “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.)”
For now, all we have is a scene shared by The Weeknd in response to Rolling Stone‘s scathing report:
And Rolling Stone‘s Editor In Chief Noah Schachtman dunking on it:
Not at all! https://t.co/jKuDh7xAHQ pic.twitter.com/TgLkYvsG9n
— Noah Shachtman (@NoahShachtman) March 1, 2023
After all of that, the plot of The Idol feels like a footnote, but The Weeknd stars as Tedros, “a self-help guru and leader of a modern-day cult” who “enters a complicated relationship with a rising pop idol, Lily-Rose Depp’s Jocelyn (as noted by IMDb). Dan Levy, Suzanna Son, Troye Sivan, Moses Sumney, Jennie Kim, and Jane Adams are among those also listed in the cast.