Hardwood timber The Idol has only aired two episodes of its first season, but already, the backlash-sparking HBO show about a toxic relationship between a pop star and a sketchy club owner is contending with rumors that the show, which saw a 12% drop in viewership between episodes one and two, won’t get another season.
On Thursday, the New York Post’s Page Six published a story originally headlined “‘The Idol’ won’t return for Season 2 with ‘difficult’ The Weeknd: source.”
“This was never meant to be a long-running show, it was always…a limited series,” one source told the Post.
“It was a big, big show for them with big talent and a lot of buzz,” a Post source described as a “highly placed industry insider” added. “But from what I heard, HBO knew it was a bit of a turkey as soon as they saw it.”
One source told the Post that working with The Weeknd (real name Abel Tesfaye), who co-created the show and plays club owner Tedros, was “not an ideal experience…and not one I am eager to repeat.” Another source described Tesfaye as “egomaniacal.”
But then, on Thursday afternoon, a source familiar with The Idol told The Daily Beast that Page Six’s original article was inaccurate and in the process of being revised.
And sure enough, an hour or so later, the Post headline had been changed to read, “Fate of ‘The Idol’ up in the air amid criticism of The Weeknd’s ‘egomaniacal’ behavior.”
“The door is definitely still open [for a second season]—it’s definitely not a decision [yet],” an HBO source told the Post. “At this point, this is normal in our process… we’re only two episodes in. The only person who makes the decision [about a second season] is the head of HBO, Casey Bloys, and he is optimistic.”
Still, not exactly a full vote of confidence for the divisive series.
In a recent Entertainment Weekly interview, The Idol star Lily-Rose Depp said that sometimes, when Tesfaye was in character on set, she would avoid him.
“Well, sometimes when Abel would get—I don’t want to reveal too much about where Abel’s character goes,” Depp said, “but when he would be in full Tedros mode sometimes, I would steer clear of him. I’d be like, ‘He’s in his zone right now.’”
A source described as close to production told the Post, however, that Tesfaye was “beloved,” adding, “He literally opened up his home for the cast and crew. Almost the entire show was shot inside his home.”
Depp, too, has defended Tesfaye. “I love Abel so much,” she said, in a breakdown aired after one of the episodes. “He was able to melt into this role in a way that is really difficult for anybody to do.”