Hopkins admits ABC to hospital for documentary series

February 16, 2007|By David Zurawik | David Zurawik,sun television critic

Grey's Anatomy, look out. The medical doctors of Johns Hopkins Hospital are headed back to prime time on ABC.

In 2000, ABC News premiered Hopkins 24/7, a groundbreaking exploration of life and death stories at one of the world's great medical institutions.

Attracting an audience of as many as 12 million viewers an episode and winning several major awards, the six-part, cinema-verite series proved that great documentary filmmaking could succeed in the highly commercialized climate of network television.

The prime-time production was such a success that officials of Johns Hopkins Medicine have decided to open their doors again to ABC News for another six episodes scheduled to air in 2008 and focusing on the medical education of residents and interns. The team of network producers is in town working on pre-production and scouting which stories it will try to tell.

"ABC News is delighted to be invited back to Johns Hopkins to produce a new docu-medical series that will include a focus on residents and their training as doctors, an often thankless and sometimes misunderstood process," ABC News said in a statement issued in response to inquiries from The Sun.

"The ABC team will be headed by award-winning executive producer Terence Wrong who produced the original series, Hopkins 24/7."

Joann Rodgers, a spokeswoman for Johns Hopkins Medicine, cited the "trust" built between ABC News and Hopkins officials during the filming of the 2000 series as one of the reasons for the "unprecedented access" granted to Wrong's team of journalists.

"If we really want people to understand what academic medicine is, then we have to shine a light on it," Rodgers said in a telephone interview.

david.zurawik@baltsun.com

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