Freeform has been picked up for series The Watchful Eye (fka the babysitter) drama with Mariel Molino (Promised Land) set to lead the ensemble cast. The Watchful Eye (fka the babysitter), who was commissioned to fly last year, hails from Julie Durk (Grace and Frankie), Ryan Seacrest Productions and ABC Signature.
Made by Durk, also advisor, The Watchful Eye is described as a contemporary Hitchcockian thriller that follows a young woman as she is thrust into a world of old money and deadly secrets. It follows Elena Santos, played by Molino, a young woman with a complicated past, who makes her way to work as a live-in nanny for an affluent Manhattan family. She soon learns that everyone in the mysterious building has deadly secrets and ulterior motives. What they don’t know, however, is that Elena herself has some shocking secrets.
Molino’s Elena is a bright, smart young woman who is hired as the live-in nanny of a wealthy widower and his young son. When Elena moves into The Greybourne, a landmark Manhattan apartment building, she quickly learns about the complex politics among its wealthy residents and a history full of mystery and tragedy. Fortunately, Elena is more than equipped to take on anything that comes her way on her own terms. Previously announced Warren Christie (The village) plays Matthew, a self-made architect struggling with grief and confusion over his wife’s death and its impact on his young son. Kelly Bishop (Gilmore Girls) portrays Mrs. Ivey, a lifelong resident of The Greybourne who is in charge and used to finding her way through a powerful combination of wealth, power and sheer willpower.
Molino takes over from Andrea Londos, who was cast as Elena in the pilot.
“I’m incredibly excited about this series because it puts a contemporary spin on the classic mystery and thriller genre,” said Jamila Hunter, EVP Programming and Development, Freeform. “Julie, Emily and everyone on the team have created a surprising world of haves and have-nots that is perfect for the Freeform audience.”
Additional cast includes Amy Acker (the gifted) as Tory, a woman who immediately hates the fresh, eager young nanny hired by her handsome brother-in-law, Matthew. Jon Ecker (firefly lane) stars as Scott, Elena’s sharp and cunning friend who helped arrange a live-in job at The Greybourne for Elena. Lex Lumpkin (All of that) plays Elliott, a precocious teenager who lives in The Greybourne and immediately befriends Elena. Hendrik Joseph Samiri (The bald and the handsome) as Jasper, Matthew’s son, an intelligent but withdrawn child who is still reeling from his mother’s recent death. Aliyah Royale (The Walking Dead: The World Beyond) completes the cast as Ginny, who works alongside Elena as a nanny and is one of the few people who can get past her new boyfriend’s tough exterior.
Emily Fox (Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist)) serves as showrunner and executive producer. Ryan Seacrest Productions, Ryan Seacrest, Nina Wass, Andrea Shay and Jeffrey Reiner of Ryan Seacrest Productions serve as executive producers with Reiner (Dirty John) directing the pilot. The series is produced by ABC Signature.
“We are so excited to be working with our partners at Freeform and ABC Signature on the watchful eye, an updated take on a classic Hitchcockian thriller with a powerful female protagonist who has an ax,” say Fox, Wass and Shay. “An elegant New York City apartment building called The Greybourne offers a backdrop where nothing is as it seems and where the intrigue of the palace have an undercurrent of terror Elena Santos is truly a force to be reckoned with, and those Manhattan power players who underestimate her may soon realize they have found their match. Who doesn’t secretly desire these days to eat the rich?”
Molino recently starred as Carmen Sandoval in promised land, which aired on ABC for one season. On the movie side, she will next be seen in Eric Nazarian’s Die like a man. Molino is represented by Ellis Talent Group, EKG Talent Group and attorney Matt Rosen at GGSSC.