HBO announced on Tuesday that Abel Tesfaye, known professionally as The Weeknd, will executive produce, write, and star in the series. He serves as co-creater on the show alongside Levinson who will also executive produce and write.
The series’ logline reads: A female pop singer starts a romance with an enigmatic L.A. club owner who is the leader of a secret cult.
Reza Fahim, Tesfaye’s producing partner, will also serve as a creator, writer, and executive producer. “The Idol” is also executive produced by Joseph Epstein, who will serve as showrunner and writer, as well as Joseph Epstein, Ashley Levinson, Kevin Turen, and Aaron L. Gilbert. Mary Laws will write and co-executive produce the series, while Wassim Slaiby and La Mar C. Taylor will serve as co-executive producers.
Tesfaye is currently the only star attached to the series, which does not have a release date. Other details, including an episode count, are under wraps.
Though “The Idol” will mark Tesfaye’s first live-action television credit, he voiced his own character on a 2020 episode of TBS’ “American Dad!,” which he also wrote. He also voiced several characters in a 2020 episode of “Robot Chicken.” Tesfaye also recently made his film debut in the Adam Sandler-led “Uncut Gems” where he portrayed a fictionalized version of himself.
“The Idol” marks Levinson’s second television series for HBO. He received acclaim for his work on the premium cabler’s “Euphoria,” which stars Zendaya and Maude Apatow and centers on several high schoolers and their difficult experiences with love, sex, drugs, and other issues. “Euphoria” received positive reviews from critics, including IndieWire’s Ben Travers, who praised Levinson’s storytelling despite the series’ unrelentingly dark themes.
Levinson previously wrote “The Wizard of Lies” television movie for HBO, which premiered in 2017. Levinson has also been active in the film space; he directed 2018’s “Assassination Nation” and 2021’s “Malcolm & Marie,” the latter of which released in January. He is also attached to write the upcoming film “Deep Water,” which is scheduled to premiere in January 2022.