HBO Series The Idol Wraps With 5 Episodes, Cuts Episode 6

Lily-Rose Depp and Abel "The Weeknd" Tesfaye in The Idol
[Image @theidol/Instagram]

HBO’s controversial drama, The Idol, starring Lily-Rose Depp and Abel “the Weeknd” Tesfaye is ending one episode earlier than originally planned. While the network had ordered six episodes, after Euphoria’s Sam Levinson “took over and made significant changes,” the story now only needs five episodes. Read on to find out why the controversial series, co-created by Tesfaye and Levinson, is ending earlier.

HBO series The Idol cuts sixth episode

Lily-Rose Depp in The Idol
Lily-Rose Depp in The Idol on HBO [Image @theidol/Instagram]

When news hit the headlines that The Idol will end with episode 5, one group is happy to hear the news. The Parents Television and Media Council had previously called on HBO to cancel the show “given the program’s extreme content – nudity, sexual abuse, torture – that can be harmful to young viewers.”

In fact, The Idol has been dogged by drama both on- and off-screen. Back in April 2022, Deadline released its first reports of trouble with the series. At that time, it was reported that the almost complete show was to undergo a creative overhaul. In fact, the original director, Amy Seimetz, is one that exited the series. According to one source, Tesfaye wasn’t happy the series was leaning too much into a female perspective. However, he later denied this. Meanwhile, Levinson took over as director of the series and even moved into the singer’s mansion.

The Idol labeled as ‘torture porn’

Lily-Rose Depp and Abel "The Weeknd" Tesfaye in The Idol
Lily-Rose Depp and Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye [Image @theidol/Instagram]

In a report back in March, Rolling Stone published a story labeling Levinson’s version as sexual “torture porn.” Meanwhile, around a dozen members of the cast and crew participated in the report, dubbing the series a “s***show.” It was later claimed that the show’s content was disturbing. In fact, three months later, when The Idol premiered at Cannes, critics mostly agreed.

Amongst critics, Esquire reported that last Sunday’s torture scene was “a new low,” while GQ reported that The Idol “just gave us the worst sex scene in history.” Meanwhile, The Daily Beast said the episode was “the worst one yet.”

Critics did seem to agree on one aspect, that some scenes with Depp started out promising. However, they said that when Tesfaye enters, things went the wrong way. However, despite this, The Weeknd has continued to stress in various interviews that “This is just make-believe. It’s make-believe.”

Moreover, when Page Six reported that The Idol will not have a second season, HBO denied this in a public statement. In a tweet, the network wrote, “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.”

The fifth and final episode of The Idol airs on HBO and Max on Sunday, July 2.

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