How did the controversial HBO drama fare at launch?

Will Sam Levinson have another HBO hit on his hands with The idol?

The series premiered Sunday night to 913,000 total viewers on Max and HBO’s linear shows, according to HBO. It’s a pretty promising start for The idoland viewership for the premiere is expected to increase next week as conversation about the somewhat controversial series continues ahead of Episode 2.

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HBO claims that new episodes of a series tend to attract 10-20% of their total viewership on Sunday nights, indicating that The idol will likely average several million viewers, at least for the first episode.

That being said, the series starring Abel Tesfaye aka The Weeknd and Lily-Rose Depp didn’t quite match the premiere audience for Levinson’s first hit on HBO, Euphoria. This series drew 1.1 million viewers on its first night in 2019, slightly ahead of a season 2 episode of big little lies. At the end of Season 1, the average episodic viewership was 6.6 million for Euphoria.

However, the premiere audience doesn’t necessarily dictate the audience with which a season will end. For example, The White Lotus series created in 2021 in front of 944,000 total viewers. The season averaged around 1.1 million viewers on premiere night, and episodes grew to around 9.3 million viewers on average when all was said and done.

Last year, winning time drew 901,000 total viewers for its first episode. Season 1 averaged 1.2 million nightly premiere viewers, which reached a total episodic average of 6 million.

Over the next few weeks it will begin to become clearer where The idol will fall.

Co-created by Sam Levinson, Tesfaye and Reza Fahim, in idol, After a nervous breakdown derails Jocelyn’s (Depp) latest tour, she’s determined to claim her rightful status as America’s biggest and sexiest pop star. His passions are rekindled by Tedros (Tesfaye), a nightclub impresario with a sordid past. Will her romantic awakening take her to glorious new heights or to the deepest, darkest depths of her soul?

Troye Sivan also plays with 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.

Levinson, Tesfaye and Fahim produce with Kevin Turen, Ashley Levinson, Joseph Epstein, Aaron L. Gilbert for Bron and Sara E. White. Levinson also directs. The series is produced in partnership with A24.

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