“The Idol” is among the 5 biggest television flops in history

HBO canceled The Idol this week, marking another major turnaround and failure for television.

The series — directed by Sam Levinson from “Euphoria,” and starring Lily-Rose Depp and Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye — follows a troubled pop princess (Depp) and her relationship with a seedy nightclub owner and cult leader (Tesfaye).

Critics and audiences alike slammed the show as “nasty” and overly raunchy, while behind-the-scenes reports pointed to problematic production.

“The Idol” is far from the first high-profile, high-profile show to crash and burn. Here’s a look at some others.

“terra nova”

The one-part Fox series from 2011 clearly had ambitions to be the next “Lost” series. Big names were linked to him – Steven Spielberg served as executive producer! — and a high-profile sci-fi storyline that follows James Shannon (Jason O’Mara) and his family as they flee their dystopian present-day reality to found a colony 85 million years in Earth’s past (which means it’s… dinosaurs existed). ). One scathing review mocked the show as “Stargate” instead of “Dr. Seuss.” The premiere reportedly cost $14 million. Neither that award nor the prestige of Spielberg’s name were enough to save Terra Nova.

Jason O'Mara, Landon Liboiron, Naomi Scott, Alana Mansour and Shelley Conn "TerraNova."
Jason O’Mara, Landon Liboiron, Naomi Scott, Alana Mansour and Shelley Conn in Terra Nova.
©20thCentFox/courtesy Everett Collection


The one-season Showtime dramedy seemed like a recipe for success – a show set in the music world and created by Cameron Crowe (“Almost Famous”). Starring Luke Wilson and Carla Gugino, the film followed the life of the road crew of a touring rock band. However, reviews were mixed and the audience was somber at just under 100 viewers 500,000 spectators Preparation for the final. It was Crowe’s first show and showed that not all filmmaking skills translate well to television.

Luke Wilson and Carla Gugino "roadies" standing in front of cookies.
Luke Wilson and Carla Gugino in Roadies.
©Showtime Networks Inc./Courtesy Everett Collection


“The Idol” isn’t HBO’s biggest flop in the music industry. “Vinyl” was a one-season series that aired in 2016. Its creators included Mick Jagger and Martin Scorsese, and it also premiered reportedly cost $30 million. Set in 1970s New York, the film follows Richie Finestra (Bobby Cannavale), a record executive married to former Andy Warhol factory wife Devon (Olivia Wilde), who is trying to transition from the era of “sex drugs and… of rock ‘n’ roll” into the era The disco era.

Unfortunately the show was too muchh of everything: too cocaine laden, too much screaming and loud emotions and rock ‘n’ roll clichés, too self-serious. HBO initially renewed the series for a second season, but pulled the plug after low ratings (the premiere just finished). 764,000 spectators) and mixed reviews. Even a motley list of big names isn’t always enough to save a show.

Bobby Cannavale and Olivia Wilde "vinyl" smile at each other.
Bobby Cannavale and Olivia Wilde in “Vinyl”.

“Pan Am”

This 2011 single-season ABC show tried to ride the “Mad Men” wave, a historical play about airline pilots and stewardesses in the ’60s. The all-star cast included Christina Ricci, Margot Robbie (before Fame) and David Harbor (before Stranger Things). It was slick and stylish, but critics criticized the writing style a memorable review He called the scripts “as sluggish and useless as a landed jet”. Even the combined star power of Robbie and Harbor couldn’t save this show. Maybe the world wasn’t ready for her yet.

Karine Vanasse, Margot Robbie, Christina Ricci and Kelli Garner in "PanAm."
Karine Vanasse, Margot Robbie, Christina Ricci and Kelli Garner in Pan Am.
©ABC/courtesy Everett Collection

“Emerald City”

This 2017 one-part NBC series was a dark, somber take on The Wizard of Oz that attempted to reinterpret the famous tale through Game of Thrones. It followed an adult version of Dorothy (Adria Arjona) on her travels that included a land of drugs and murder; Dorothy gets waterboarding; flying monkeys as drones; Toto is a German shepherd (apparently a terrier wasn’t dark and gloomy enough) and his scarecrow (Oliver Jackson-Cohen bravely trying to clean up this mess) suffers from amnesia. The Munchkins, on the other hand, were an indigenous tribe. It all felt like trying Away too heavy to be hardcore.

Apparently the public felt the same way.

Caroline Bleakley

Caroline Bleakley is a USTimeToday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Caroline Bleakley joined USTimeToday in 2022 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with Caroline Bleakley by emailing carolinebleakley@ustimetoday.com.

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