ABC adds hospital reality show to summer

'Boston Med' to show first filmed face transplant in U.S.

ABC is returning to the hospital this summer, picking up the limited-run unscripted series “Boston Med.”

Hourlong skein comes from ABC News’ Terence Wrong and his team, who were also behind 2008’s “Hopkins” and 2000’s “Hopkins 24/7.”

Like those series, “Boston Med” puts cameras in the hallways, surgery wards and emergency rooms of a major medical facility. But this time, the show takes place at three different hospitals: Massachusetts General, Childrens Hospital Boston and Brigham and Womens.

Net plans to run between seven and eight hours of the show. And much like its summer home for “Hopkins” (which earned a Peabody Award), the Alphabet is expected to slot “Boston Med” in the Thursday 9 p.m. slot normally reserved for medical drama “Grey’s Anatomy.”

According to Wrong, the centerpiece of “Boston Med” will be the first-ever filming of a face transplant in this country.

Purely by happenstance, Wrong’s team had already been following the story of movie marketer Joseph Helfgot, who was in Boston awaiting a heart transplant.

Helfgot, who founded Marketcast, died during his heart transplant surgery. Later, the producers were called in by Brigham and Womens to shoot the second-ever face transplant in the United States.

It was only later that they discovered that Helfgot was the face donor.

“It was a very weird coincidence,” Wrong said. “And it creates some interesting storytelling possibilities. We have all this footage of him from before.”

Viewers also will meet Jim Maki, the transplant recipient, who burned his face after falling on an electrified subway rail. Maki is Asian American, while Helfgot was white.

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