‘The Idol’ Canceled: Inside the Quick, Messy Death of HBO’s Controversial Drama | Analysis

Sam Levinson’s sexualized drama seemed set to become summer’s biggest release, but ended up as a cultural black eye

HBO The Idol Canceled
"The Idol" stars Lily-Rose Depp and Abel "The Weeknd" Tesfaye. (HBO, Christopher Smith, TheWrap)

Sharon Waxman

Sharon Waxman On the Business of Entertainment

The founder and editor of TheWrap’s take on life on the left coast, high culture, low culture and the business of entertainment and media. Waxman writes frequently on the inside doings of Hollywood, and is is also the author of two books, Rebels on the Back Lot and Loot

From the first screening of “The Idol” at the Cannes Film Festival in May, the warning signs appeared. Instead of the usually effusive ovation from the black-tie audience at the Palais des Festivals, tepid applause and awkward side-eye greeted the first two episodes of the HBO drama series, as Warner Bros.