Freeform has picked up to series The Watchful Eye (fka The Nanny) drama with Mariel Molino (Promised Land) set to lead the ensemble cast. The Watchful Eye (fka The Nanny), which was ordered to pilot last year, hails from Julie Durk (Grace and Frankie), Ryan Seacrest Productions and ABC Signature.
Created by Durk, who also serves as consultant, The Watchful Eye is described as a Hitchcockian contemporary 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, maneuvering her way into working as a live-in nanny for an affluent family in Manhattan. She quickly learns that everyone in the mysterious building has deadly secrets and ulterior motives. What they don’t know, however, is that Elena has some shocking secrets of her own.
Molino’s Elena is a bright, savvy young woman hired as the live-in nanny to 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 inhabitants and a history riddled with mystery and tragedy. Luckily, Elena is more than equipped to handle anything that comes her way on her own terms. Previously announced Warren Christie (The Village) plays Matthew, a self-made architect dealing 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 rules the roost and is accustomed to getting her way through a potent combination of wealth, power and sheer force of will.
Molino takes over the role from Andrea Londos, who was cast as Elena in the pilot.
“I’m incredibly excited about this series because it presents a contemporary twist 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’s perfect for Freeform’s audience.”
Additional cast includes Amy Acker (The Gifted) as Tory, a woman who instantly dislikes the fresh-faced, eager young nanny hired by her handsome brother-in-law, Matthew. Jon Ecker (Firefly Lane) stars as Scott, Elena’s sharp and cunning boyfriend who has helped arrange for Elena to get a live-in job at The Greybourne. Lex Lumpkin (All That) portrays Elliott, a precocious teenager who lives in The Greybourne and strikes up an instant friendship with Elena. Henry Joseph Samiri (The Bold and the Beautiful) as Jasper, Matthew’s son, an intelligent but withdrawn child still reeling from the recent death of his mother. Aliyah Royale (The Walking Dead: The World Beyond) rounds out the cast as Ginny, who works alongside Elena as a nanny and is one of the few people who can get past her new friend’s tough outer shell.
Emily Fox (Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist) serves as showrunner and executive producer. Ryan Seacrest Productions’ Ryan Seacrest, Nina Wass, Andrea Shay and Jeffrey Reiner 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 twist on a classic Hitchcockian thriller featuring an empowered female lead who’s got an ax to grind,” say Fox, Wass and Shay. “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 most recently starred as Carmen Sandoval in Promised Land, which aired for one season on ABC. On the film side, she’ll next be seen in Eric Nazarian’s Die Like A Man. Molino is repped by Ellis Talent Group, EKG Talent Group and attorney Matt Rosen at GGSSC.
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