Many Americans watched The Watcher — which rocketed to No. 1 on Netflix's streaming charts last week — but the real family whose horrifying story inspired Ryan Murphy's series won't be... uh... watching anytime soon.
Though the series, which stars Naomi Watts and Bobby Cannavale in a fictional account of the true-crime tale following a family that's welcomed to their new, idyllic New Jersey mansion by a series of threatening letters from an anonymous stalker, was a weekend success, the family reportedly has no plans to revisit their harrowing ordeal.
"We reached out to the Broaddus family. They declined to comment, but they do still live here in the Westfield area. And we've been told they have no plans to watch the show; the trailer was traumatizing enough," ABC News correspondent and Good Morning America personality Eva Pilgrim said in a segment on Tuesday's ABC7 New York afternoon news broadcast.
Netflix Naomi Watts and Bobby Cannavale in 'The Watcher.'
Murphy's project used inspiration from the Broaddus family's experience — first chronicled at length in a 2018 article in The Cut — to tell a new, heavily dramatized version. Their names were also changed for the series, with Derek and Maria Broaddus becoming Dean and Nora Brannock in the transition from reality to fiction.
(Warning: The rest of this article includes spoilers for the first season of The Watcher.)
As in the real family's story, The Watcher concludes with the identity of its titular creeper still a mystery. It took five years for the Broadduses to sell their $1.4 million abode, which they took a $400,000 hit on when it finally found new owners in 2019.
Watts exclusively told EW she won't publicly reveal who she thinks the Watcher is in the world of the show, and confirmed that the series producers didn't clue the cast in as they filmed.
Netflix Bobby Cannavale and Naomi Watts' dream house turns into a nightmare in Netflix's 'The Watcher.'
"We were all constantly speculating and finger-pointing to each other, trying to see what stories lined up. That's fun, and it helps to our advantage as actors to keep up the mystery as we played it. Not knowing is the beauty of it, and it adds to the tension of how you play it," she said. "It wasn't spelled out to us, either, so our guessing was just as fun as yours!"
The Watcher — also starring Mia Farrow, Margo Martindale, Noma Dumezweni, and Jennifer Coolidge — is now streaming on Netflix.