Why the Real Family from The Watcher Refuses to Watch the Show

Ryan Murphy's The Watcher—starring Naomi Watts, Bobby Cannavale and Jennifer Coolidge—is racing up the Netflix charts, but the real-life family behind the shocking story will not be watching.

By Daniel Trainor Oct 20, 2022 9:34 PMTags
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The real-life family behind Netflix's The Watcher has no desire to be voyeurs of their own trauma.

The Broaddus family—whose lives were turned upside down by a series of creepy letters they received after moving into their Westfield, N.J. home in 2014—have their story dramatized in the new Ryan Murphy series starring Bobby Cannavale and Naomi Watts

But while it's a smash hit for the streamer, it's one the Broadduses won't be binging. 

"We reached out to the Broaddus family," Good Morning America's Eva Pilgrim said during a segment on ABC7 New York Oct. 18. "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."

In the series, Cannavale and Watts play Dean and Nora Brannock, fictionalized versions of real-life homeowners, whose saga was first told in a viral 2018 article in The Cut.

The Watcher—which also stars Jennifer Coolidge, Margo Martindale, Richard Kind and Mia Farrow—shows a heightened version of the months-long saga that plagued the Derek, Maria and their children, during which they received numerous anonymous letters from somebody calling themselves The Watcher.

In the series—just like in real life—the identity of The Watcher was never discovered.

2022 TV Premiere Dates

While the Broaddus family has turned their attention elsewhere, plenty of Netflix subscribers have been unable to resist The Watcher's allure

The streamer revealed that, since its premiere on Oct. 13, over 125 million hours of the limited series have been viewed, landing it on the top spot of Netflix's English TV list, replacing creator Murphy's other recent buzzy—and controversial—series, DAHMER - Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story.


All seven episodes of The Watcher are available to stream on Netflix.

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