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Freeform is headed into the world of wealthy Manhattanites with its latest series pickup.
The Disney-owned cable outlet has greenlit The Watchful Eye, a thriller centered on a young nanny who goes to work for a wealthy New York family that harbors a closetful of secrets.
Mariel Molino (ABC’s Promised Land) will play the lead role of Elena Santos, who maneuvers her way into a job with an affluent family and has some shocking secrets of her own. Molino takes over from Andrea Londos, who played Elena in the show’s pilot; sources say the character was reworked after the pilot, leading to the recasting.
Julie Durk (Grace and Frankie) created The Watchful Eye and will serve as a consultant. Emily Fox (Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist) will be the showrunner on the series from ABC Signature and Ryan Seacrest Productions.
“I’m incredibly excited about this series because it presents a contemporary twist on the classic mystery and thriller genre,” said Jamila Hunter, executive vp programming and development at Freeform. “Julie, Emily and everyone on the team have created a surprising world of haves and have-nots that’s perfect for Freeform’s audience.”
The show’s cast also features Warren Christie, Kelly Bishop, Amy Acker, Jon Ecker, Lex Lumpkin, Henry Joseph Samiri and Aliyah Royale. Fox will executive produce with pilot director Jeffrey Reiner (Dirty John, Friday Night Lights) and Ryan Seacrest Productions’ Seacrest, Nina Wass and Andrea Shay.
“We are so excited to be working with our partners at Freeform and ABC Signature on The Watchful Eye, an updated twist on a classic Hitchcockian thriller featuring an empowered female lead who’s got an ax to grind,” said Fox, Wass and Shay in a statement. “An elegant New York City apartment building called The Greybourne provides a backdrop where nothing is as it seems and where the palace intrigue has an undercurrent of terror. Elena Santos is very much a force to be reckoned with, and the Manhattan power players who underestimate her may soon realize they’ve met their match. In this day and age, who doesn’t secretly long to eat the rich?”
Molino is repped by Ellis Talent Group, EKG Talent Group and Goodman Genow.
The Watchful Eye joins a Freeform scripted slate that includes the recently renewed Single Drunk Female, Grown-ish, Cruel Summer, Good Trouble and the upcoming animated comedy Praise Petey. The cabler also has AZNBBGRL, a drama pilot set in Orange County’s Little Saigon community.
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