The Idol to End One Week Early With a Five-Episode Run Instead of Six: Here’s Why

A report claims that HBO hasn’t pulled the plug on The Idol, but rather, the show was cut down to five episodes as Sam Levinson took over the reins.

The Idol to End One Week Early With a Five-Episode Run Instead of Six: Here’s Why

Photo Credit: Eddy Chen/HBO

The Weeknd and Lily-Rose Depp in a still from The Idol

  • The Idol episode 5 releases June 3 on JioCinema in India
  • The Idol originally had six episodes under Amy Seimetz’s direction
  • It stars Lily-Rose Depp, Abel ‘The Weeknd’ Tesfaye, and Rachel Sennott

The Idol is ending sooner than expected, with the season finale scheduled to air next week. As usual, HBO dropped a preview teaser for its next episode, but the title card mentioned ‘Season Finale' at the end, which is odd considering that the show was initially reported to have six episodes. One would assume that HBO, as a production company, is abruptly pulling the plug on it due to hate-watching and the memes that came out of it, in order to not tarnish its reputation. Rumours claiming that the studio had cancelled the order for a second season didn't help either, although HBO came forward later stating that the new chapter was never confirmed. It now appears as though the information about The Idol's episode count was simply lost in communication.

“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,” an unidentified source told TVLine. SPOILERS AHEAD​ Episode 5, titled ‘Jocelyn Forever' sees the titular pop star (Lily-Rose Depp) finally kickstarting her tour with the new persona she has constructed, thanks to Tedros (Abel 'The Weeknd' Tesfaye), who had gradually invaded her life as a self-help guru. However, it seems that her team isn't happy with it, and goes into conflict with Tedros' team of singers. There's probably more trouble brewing though, as we see Jocelyn's assistant Leia (Rachel Sennott) hearing some concerning news on the phone — possibly about Xander (Troye Sivan) being abused.

Production on The Idol wasn't easy, thanks to some on-set drama that led to heavy creative changes. Amy Seimetz — best known for Upstream Color — was originally meant to direct The Idol, focusing on the struggles and exploitation of a rising pop star in Los Angeles, but suddenly exited the project with about 80 percent of the six-episode series finished. At the time, the show did have six whole episodes, but then Sam Levinson (Euphoria) came on and overwrote most of Seimetz's work, eventually even directing it. Reports suggested that co-creator The Weeknd felt that the show was heading too much into a ‘female perspective,' hence the creative changes. Evidently, Levinson weakened the show's original message and upped the ante on the sexual content and nudity — a criticism he even received on Euphoria season 2 — with him allegedly not sending scripts over to HBO executives and department heads.

Levinson does have a strong hold on HBO though, thanks to Euphoria's success that even earned lead Zendaya an Emmy Award for best performance. As per Deadline, season three is reportedly eyeing a release window in 2025, due to the ongoing writers' strike in Hollywood, which has led to not many scripts being turned in. Coming back to The Idol, as Levinson took the reins for the show, the story was shortened to five episodes, although HBO never communicated it on any official channels. Even as the show premiered its first two episodes at the Cannes Film Festival in May — to poor reception — it was billed as a six-episode season. As the show finally premiered, audiences couldn't help but share clips of The Weeknd's dirty talk in the show and ridicule him for his poor performance as an actor. Levinson also received some criticism for the over-sexualisation depicted in the show.

The Idol episode 5 is out Monday, July 3 at 8:30am in India on JioCinema, and Sunday, July 2 at 9pm ET on Max wherever available.

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The Idol

  • Genre Drama
  • Cast
    Lily-Rose Depp, Abel Tesfaye, Suzanna Son, Jennie Ruby Jane, Troye Sivan, Moses Sumney, Jane Adams, Dan Levy, Eli Roth, Rachel Sennott, Hari Nef, Da'Vine Joy Randolph, Mike Dean, Ramsey, Hank Azaria
  • Director
    Sam Levinson
  • Producer
    Joe Epstein, Reza Fahim, Aaron L. Gilbert, Ashley Levinson, Sam Levinson, Kevin Turen, The Weeknd, Sara E. White

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