ABC News has scheduled a checkup with “Hopkins” this summer.
Inspired by the success of scripted medical skeins like “Grey’s Anatomy,” ABC News’ documentary division decided to revisit Johns Hopkins Hospital — the site of its 2000 skein “Hopkins 24/7.”
This time around, the six-episode docu series will focus more on the Baltimore teaching hospital’s residents and the financial and personal toll their training takes on them.
“Hopkins” hasn’t yet received an official airdate, but ABC News is eyeing a Thursday night 10 p.m. slot (behind “Grey’s Anatomy,” natch) starting June 26.
According to Terence Wrong, who’s exec producing along with Rudy Bednar, ABC News spent four months at Johns Hopkins last spring, setting up a bureau in the hospital. The documentary crew had at least six cameras shooting in high-definition around the clock.
Wrong said the team was given almost unlimited access — no small feat, given medical regulations had changed since ABC News shot the 2000 skein. Patient confidentiality rules have become too stringent for most productions, Wrong said, but Hopkins liked the original documentary and was willing to sign on again.
“We were unescorted through surgeries and given free rein,” said Wrong, who added that his team had taken the necessary hygiene and patient confidentiality classes for certification. “It’s unprecedented that any institution would have the courage to do this. But they trusted us from the first time.”
The “Hopkins” sequel will focus on six major characters. Each hour will highlight a major medical case that will be resolved by the end; continuing storylines will also be spread from one hour to the next. Unlike “Hopkins 24/7,” there will be no narrator.
“This series (is) much more up close and personal with our doctors,” Wrong said. “They share with us some stunningly intimate detail. We witnessed them in moments of great duress.”
Wrong said “Grey’s Anatomy” fans will be familiar with some of the elements in the series.
“I can’t say we were blind to the fact that medical scripted drama continues to do very well on TV, even on our own network,” said Wrong, who noted that the sequel has also taken more cues from reality TV. “It’s a documentary, but a documentary informed by all of the changes we’ve seen on TV.”
(Josef Adalian contributed to this report.)