The PTC, the Parents Television and Media Council, is welcoming the news about “The Idol’s” cancellation on HBO.
“We are glad HBO heeded our calls to cancel ‘The Idol,’ toxic sexually explicit fare targeted to teens. The program’s extreme and disturbing content – nudity, sexual abuse, torture – can be harmful to young viewers,” Melissa Henson, vice president of PTC, said in a press statement. “Despite HBO’s glamorization of the program and its cast, the show sunk into such depravity that even its audience turned against it, causing HBO to shorten its run by an episode and now, by cancelling it outright. We hope HBO has learned that marketing explicit content to teens is a losing scenario.”
It should be noted that HBO never shortened Sam Levinson’s version of “The Idol” by an episode or that its five-episode run was ever a way for the cable network to burn off the series. The original version of “The Idol” from Amy Seimetz was given a six-episode order in 2021. However, once Sam Levinson took over the project and Abel Tesfaye (aka The Weeknd) became more involved, their version of the series only had five episodes in its first season.
Similarly, it’s impossible to know if this cancellation was due to pressures from the PTC, as the organization claims, a backlash from critics and audiences or simply low viewership. In its official statement about “The Idol’s” cancellation, HBO did not give a reason for ending the series. But from Episodes 1 to 2, the series saw a 12.37% decline in viewership despite outpacing premiere viewerships for the first seasons of HBO’s “Euphoria” and “The White Lotus.”
Around the time the series first premiered in June, the PTC called on Max to stop marketing the series to younger audiences through social media and for the streamer to strengthen its parental controls to make TV-MA series less accessible to younger viewers. According to the organization, #TheIdol has raked up over 1.2 billion views on TikTok, one of the most popular social media platforms among teenagers.
Rumors about “The Idol’s” cancellation started swirling after the series had debuted its first two episodes. From Levinson, Tesfaye and Reza Fahim, “The Idol” told the story of Jocelyn (Lily-Rose Depp), a pop star who does everything in her power to reclaim her title as the sexiest star in the U.S., including befriending a modern-day cult leader.