Over the summer, we reported that HBO was developing a show about a cult with Able Tesfaye (a.k.a. The Weeknd), Euphoria’s Sam Levinson, and The Weeknd’s producing partner Reza Fahim. Called The Idol, we knew that the show would be about a nightclub owner in Los Angeles who was also secretly a cult leader and that it would involve an up-and-coming pop star falling under the influence of the cult leader, but that was about it.
Now, HBO has officially picked up The Idol, ordering six episodes that will all be directed by Amy Seimetz of She Dies Tomorrow and Atlanta fame. A press release from the network notes that it will star The Weeknd and Lily-Rose Depp, and in what’s either a rewrite or a clarification, it says it’s about a “self-help guru and leader of a modern-day cult” with a “complicated relationship” with a pop idol.
That makes the cult stuff sound less explicit, since any number of fads could be considered a “modern-day cult” (if we’re using that someone suspicious phrasing), but maybe HBO is obfuscating things a bit now that the show is actually moving forward. Either way, Weeknd is probably the cult leader and Depp is probably the pop idol.
In other The Idol news, Variety has a much bigger cast list, which includes Troye Sivan, Anne Heche, Nico Hiraga, Elizabeth Berkley Lauren, Steve Zissis, Tunde Adebimpe, Melanie Liburd, and Suzanna Son. Variety also says Joe Epstein will write and serve as showrunner, but if the Internet Movie Database is to be trusted, Joe Epstein is an unproven newcomer. Seimetz is already interesting, so this is potentially… also interesting.
There’s no word on when The Idol might premiere, but it can’t be too hard to make six episodes of prestige television with a major musical artist in one of the lead roles.