The Idol Premiere Ratings: Did the Bad Press Derail the New HBO Drama?

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The Idol.

There's a good chance you've heard that term over the last several months as HBO fired up the promotional train on its latest drama series.

Even before that, there were reports of unrest on the set of the series, which hails from Euphoria creator Sam Levison.

The Idol Cast

Leading into the premiere, the premium cabler decided against providing advanced screeners to critics, sometimes considered a lack of faith in a project.

Anyway. The Idol Season 1 Episode 1 launched at Cannes, and the reaction was less than favorable.

Weeknd on The Idol

Still, even bad press can lead to people watching a show. It's happened countless times, but how did the series premiere fare?

HBO has revealed 913,000 viewers watched the show on Sunday across Max and linear HBO telecasts.

The numbers are behind Euphoria Season 1 Episode 1, which did 1.1 million viewers in 2019.

The premiere numbers are on par with the debut of The White Lotus, which kicked off with 913,000 viewers.

The Idol Still

Episodes of that season reached almost 10 million viewers with delayed viewing factored in, so the big test for The Idol will be how it holds up in the coming weeks.

If it continues getting the press, it could become one of those highly-streamed shows for Max, which could allow it to continue for more seasons.

HBO shows tend to only garner a fraction of their total audience on premiere night, but the numbers are well behind The Last of Us Season 1 Episode 1 (4.7 million viewers) and House of the Dragon Season 1 Episode 1 (almost 10 million viewers). Those numbers are for premiere night, by the way.

The Idol Cast Photo

"After a nervous breakdown derailed Jocelyn's (Lily-Rose Depp) last tour, she's determined to claim her rightful status as the greatest and sexiest pop star in America," the logline reads.

"Her passions are reignited by Tedros (Abel "The Weeknd" Tesfaye), a nightclub impresario with a sordid past," HBO teases.

"Will her romantic awakening take her to glorious new heights or the deepest and darkest depths of her soul?"

The drama stars Abel "The Weeknd" Tesfaye, Lily-Rose Depp, and Troye Sivan.

Dan Levy (Actor) - The Idol Season 1 Episode 1

Also starring is Dan Levy, Da'Vine Joy Randolph, Eli Roth, Hari Nef, Jane Adams, Jennie Ruby Jane, Mike Dean, Moses Sumney, Rachel Sennott, Ramsey, Suzanna Son, and Hank Azaria.

What are your thoughts on the numbers? Check out our The Idol Season 1 Episode 1 review to find out what our writer thought of it.

Catch new episodes Sundays at 9 p.m. on HBO and Max.

Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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The Idol Quotes

If you live in Sioux City, Iowa, you are never gonna meet a girl like Jocelyn. She's not walking down the street. She didn't go to your high school. She doesn't work at the bar or the diner. And she did not marry your best friend. And if, on the off chance, she did, she is still never, ever gonna fuck you. Unless, she has some very, very serious mental problems. And that right there is why mental illness is sexy.


I mean, I feel like it could be a lot worse.