The Idol
Created by
Directed bySam Levinson
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
Executive producers
  • Abel Tesfaye
  • Reza Fahim
  • Sam Levinson
  • Joseph Epstein
  • Ashley Levinson
  • Aaron L. Gilbert
  • Nick Hall
  • Keily Amaya
Production locationsLos Angeles, California
Production companies
Original networkHBO
Original release2023 (2023)

The Idol is an upcoming American drama television series created by Abel "The Weeknd" Tesfaye, Reza Fahim, and Sam Levinson for HBO. It is set to star Lily-Rose Depp and Tesfaye in the leading roles, with Suzanna Son, Troye Sivan, Moses Sumney, Jane Adams, Dan Levy, Jennie Ruby Jane, Eli Roth, Rachel Sennott, Hari Nef, Da'Vine Joy Randolph, Mike Dean, Ramsey, and Hank Azaria appearing as supporting characters.[1][2] The series will also mark Anne Heche's final television appearance, who died on August 11, 2022.


The show will center on Jocelyn (Lily-Rose Depp), an aspiring pop idol who, after having a nervous breakdown that causes her last tour to be canceled, resolves to reclaim her title as the sexiest pop star in America and begins a complicated relationship with a self-help guru and the head of a contemporary cult (The Weeknd).

Cast and characters





On June 29, 2021, Abel "The Weeknd" Tesfaye announced that he would be creating, executive producing and co-writing a drama series for HBO alongside Reza Fahim and Sam Levinson.[3] On the same day, Ashley Levinson and Joseph Epstein were announced as executive producers for the series, with Epstein also serving as a writer and the series' showrunner. Mary Laws was also announced as a writer and will serve as a co-executive producer, alongside Tesfaye's co-manager Wassim Slaiby and his creative director La Mar Taylor.[4] Amy Seimetz was signed on as the director and as an executive producer.[5]

On November 22, HBO gave the production a series order for a first season consisting of six episodes. On January 14, 2022, Deadline Hollywood reported that Nick Hall had joined the production as an executive producer, following his move to A24 to oversee creative for the company's television slate.[6]


In the initial announcement, Tesfaye revealed that he would be starring in the series.[7] On September 29, 2021, it was reported that Lily-Rose Depp had signed on to play the female lead opposite Tesfaye.[8] On November 22, Suzanna Son, Steve Zissis, and Troye Sivan joined the main cast, while Melanie Liburd, Tunde Adebimpe, Elizabeth Berkley, Nico Hiraga and Anne Heche were announced as recurring characters.[9] On December 2, Juliebeth Gonzalez joined the cast as a series regular, while Maya Eshet, Tyson Ritter, Kate Lyn Sheil, Liz Caribel Sierra and Finley Rose Slater were cast in recurring roles.[10]

On April 25, 2022, Variety reported that the show was set to undergo a major overhaul, with "drastic" changes in the cast and creative directions. On April 27, Deadline Hollywood reported that Son, Zissis and Gonzalez were not expected to return.[11] In July, actors Rachel Sennott and Hari Nef along with Blackpink's member Jennie Ruby Jane (in her acting debut), joined the cast; [12][13][14] Moses Sumney, Jane Adams, Dan Levy, Eli Roth, Da'Vine Joy Randolph, Mike Dean, Ramsey, and Hank Azaria were confirmed as cast members on August 21 in the second teaser trailer.


Principal photography began in November 2021 in and around Los Angeles, California.[15] Production was temporarily paused in April 2022 due to Tesfaye co-headlining the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival with Swedish House Mafia on short notice.[16] On April 25, Variety reported that Seimetz had left the project amid its creative overhaul, with multiple episodes already filmed.[17] HBO released a statement following Seimetz's exit, saying: "The Idol’s’ creative team continues to build, refine, and evolve their vision for the show and they have aligned on a new creative direction. The production will be adjusting its cast and crew accordingly to best serve this new approach to the series. We look forward to sharing more information soon."[18]

Levinson reportedly took over Seimetz's directing duties. According to IndieWire and other sources, Tesfaye felt concerned that the show was "leaning too much into a female perspective."[19] Production resumed in late May and was paused again in early July, just as Tesfaye began embarking on his After Hours til Dawn Tour.[20] Scenes from The Idol were filmed in September at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California during Tesfaye's tour. Audience members were notified of the filming before the concert commenced.[21][22]


On October 6, 2022, HBO shared a teaser trailer revealing that the show will premiere sometime in 2023.[23]


  1. ^ Otterson, Joe (November 22, 2021). "The Weeknd's HBO Series 'The Idol' Gets Greenlight, Adds Eight to Cast Including Troye Sivan and Anne Heche". Variety. Retrieved November 22, 2021.
  2. ^ Zemler, Emily (November 24, 2021). "The Weeknd's HBO Series 'The Idol' Casts Troye Sivan, Tunde Adebimpe". Rolling Stone. Retrieved January 17, 2022.
  3. ^ White, Peter (June 29, 2021). "The Weeknd To Star In & Write Pop Singer Cult Drama Series 'The Idol' With Sam Levinson In The Works At HBO". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved November 23, 2021.
  4. ^ Otterson, Joe (June 29, 2021). "The Weeknd to Star in, Co-Write Cult Series in the Works at HBO With 'Euphoria' Creator". Variety. Retrieved November 22, 2021.
  5. ^ Hailu, Selome (April 25, 2022). "Amy Seimetz Out as Director of the Weeknd's HBO Drama Series 'The Idol', Series to Undergo Significant Reshoots". Variety. Retrieved October 1, 2022.
  6. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (January 14, 2022). "Nick Hall Joins A24 To Oversee Creative For TV". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 25, 2022.
  7. ^ Mamo, Heran (June 29, 2021). "The Weeknd to Star In & Co-Write New HBO Series With 'Euphoria' Creator". Billboard. Retrieved January 17, 2022.
  8. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (September 29, 2021). "Lily-Rose Depp Joins The Weeknd In 'The Idol' Drama Series In Works At HBO". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved October 2, 2021.
  9. ^ "The Weeknd's HBO Series The Idol Casts Troye Sivan and TV on the Radio's Tunde Adebimpe". Pitchfork. November 23, 2021. Retrieved November 23, 2021.
  10. ^ Petski, Denise (December 2, 2021). "'The Idol': HBO's Music Industry Drama Series Adds Six To Cast". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 2, 2021.
  11. ^ "'The Idol': Suzanna Son Not Returning To HBO Drama Series Amid Creative Overhaul". Deadline. April 27, 2022. Retrieved August 23, 2022.
  12. ^ Jacob, Lola (July 7, 2022). "Rachel Sennott joins the cast of 'The Idol' starring The Weeknd and Lily-Rose Depp". Coup De Main Magazine. Retrieved July 7, 2022.
  13. ^ Hess, Liam (July 6, 2022). "Hari Nef Is Having a Moment in the Hair Color of the Season". Vogue. Retrieved July 7, 2022.
  14. ^ Petski, Denise (July 20, 2022). "Blackpink's Jennie Joins The Weeknd's 'The Idol' HBO Series". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 20, 2022.
  15. ^ Holmes, Martin. "HBO Picks Up The Weeknd's Drama 'The Idol' For Full Series, Adds 8 To Cast". TV Insider. Retrieved April 25, 2022.
  16. ^ "Inside the Weeknd and Swedish House Mafia's very last-minute Coachella collab". Los Angeles Times. April 14, 2022. Retrieved April 25, 2022.
  17. ^ Hailu, Selome (April 25, 2022). "The Weeknd's HBO Drama Series 'The Idol' to Undergo Significant Reshoots". Variety. Retrieved April 25, 2022.
  18. ^ White, Peter (April 26, 2022). "'The Idol': Director Amy Seimetz Exits Amid Overhaul Of HBO Drama Series". Deadline Hollywod. Retrieved April 26, 2022.
  19. ^ Bergeson, Samantha (April 27, 2022). "The Weeknd and Sam Levinson's HBO Series 'The Idol' Undergoing Reshoots, Cast and Crew Changes". Indiewire. Retrieved August 22, 2022.
  20. ^ "'So humbling and incredible': The Weeknd talks about his journey from Scarborough to world stages". July 8, 2022. Retrieved July 17, 2022. he was expecting to immediately jump on a plane to wrap filming in L.A in the six days between his Toronto and Philadelphia gigs.
  21. ^ Parker, Lyndsey (September 4, 2022). "The Weeknd suddenly cuts short L.A. concert due to vocal issues: 'This is killing me'". Yahoo. Retrieved September 4, 2022.
  22. ^ Wood, Mikael (September 3, 2022). "The Weeknd brings dark-pop spectacle, and Lily-Rose Depp, to SoFi Stadium". LA Times. Retrieved September 4, 2022.
  23. ^ "Everything we know about HBO's sleazy music industry drama The Idol". Entertainment Weekly. October 6, 2022. Retrieved December 18, 2022.