When negotiating with Netflix, the Broadduses didn’t have many demands. After already being burned once by Lifetime exploiting their story, they just wanted to maintain some control over their own narrative. This led the Broadduses to ask for two simple things as Netflix adapted “The Watcher” into an original series, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Firstly, they asked that their names not be used in the show. Whoever the family was that found themselves terrorized by the unknown stalker, they did not want it to link back to their actual family in any way. For this reason, creator Ryan Murphy decided to use the name Brannock instead. In the series, Dean (Bobby Cannavale) and Nora Brannock (Naomi Watts) have two children. They move into the house with the intent of living in a quiet, safe neighborhood outside the city, and they sink every single penny they have into the house in order to attain it. As many families do in horror, their life savings go into their new house as a way to keep them trapped there. Unable to afford a different place to live, they have no means to leave.
The Broaddusses’ second request followed the same measures of security and privacy. They wanted the actors portraying the family to look as little like them as possible. Considering the real crime has never been solved and the culprit behind the ominous letters has never been identified, these requests seemed reasonable enough.
Murphy commented on the ongoing investigation and how it influenced his research and writing. “When we were shooting it, there would be things coming out on Reddit like, ‘Here’s a new suspect, here’s another idea. Here’s another thing.’ It was like working on something that was alive, we were constantly adding characters.” (via The Hollywood Reporter).