Inside move: ABC docus ready for summer

Westin says net is 'experimenting with formats'

A new summer series of docs that ABC News has formally unveiled takes care of a lot of unfinished business for the Alphabet net.

Airing at 10 p.m., the 16-hour series will fill the slot where only repeats of mediocre programming would have appeared. And if “Boston 24/7,” “ICU” and “State V.” have the ratings power of their reality-style forebear “Hopkins 24/7,” the risk may pay off.

For their part, the ABC execs gathered in the net’s Upper West Side headquarters seemed pretty confident. (Indeed, there’s a “24/7” in the works about a facet of New York.)

‘Experimenting with formats’

“A lot of what we see on TV is what has been done before,” said prexy David Westin. “We’re experimenting with formats.”

If previews are any indication, the genre does have some originality. Filmed with ubiquitous cameras that almost give it a real-time feel, the series has less flash than a newsmagazine and is less outrageous than reality TV. But intentionally or not, it definitely tapped into some familiar themes.

“Boston 24/7” — which focuses on the administration of pugnacious Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino — almost comes across as a reality-based “The West Wing.”

Another part of the series, “State V.,” weaves nonfiction takes on the forensic frissons of “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” and the courtroom conundrums of “Law & Order.”

Babies on the brink

Like “Hopkins,” “ICU” capitalizes on public fascination with frenetic “ER”-like tension, although this program features an intensive-care unit for newborns in which several of the babies die while waiting for heart transplants.

With net programming in flux, ABC News can’t lose. Maybe the series will be a godsend — it’s certainly cheaper than creating a new 10 p.m. drama — but if it doesn’t pay off, the Alphabet will have had a long, hot summer anyhow.