A couple of months into filming for his latest documentary series, "NY Med," ABC News producer Terence Wrong began to experience a familiar panic.
"Weill Cornell was just not delivering enough traumas," said Wrong ("Hopkins," "Boston Med"), who'd settled on New York-Presbyterian's Columbia and Weill Cornell Medical Centers for his latest medical docudrama, aware that he wouldn't know what the stories were until he and his crew got there.
"No one else gets money to make a show where they don't know what the show is going to be," he said, explaining the fear that tends to hit him about two months into most of his projects.
"I'm 100 percent certain we're going to crash and burn," said Wrong, who negotiated with hospitals all over New York to gain access to their emergency rooms, signing contracts with nine and filming at seven.
He also began staffing the ER at Weill Cornell with videographers 24 hours a day, which, he said, "my staff - let's just say they found it brutal."
But it worked, and so well that ultimately only one of the outside hospitals, Brooklyn's Lutheran Medical Center, was used in the eight-part series that airs at 10 p.m. Tuesdays. Wrong's team ended up with so many emergency-room stories that he's reworking them for a potential spin-off, "NY ER."
Filming around the clock, "we broke through a wall we didn't even know existed between us and the staff," he said. "You become a mirror. So we had greater acceptance, participation, camaraderie and raucousness than we've ever had."
Emergency-room stories are just part of a mix that generally includes complicated surgeries, colorful patients and even the occasional coincidence, as in the discovery that the donor in the face transplant featured in 2010's "Boston Med" had been someone Wrong's team had earlier been following separately, as he waited for a heart transplant that ultimately proved unsuccessful.
There's nothing quite like that face transplant - only the second done in the U.S. - in "NY Med," but there are things that distinguish it from Wrong's other medical documentaries, starting with the presence of Dr. Mehmet Oz, who, while pursuing a career as TV's "Dr. Oz," still spends one day a week working as a heart surgeon at Columbia Medical Center.
"I knew he was there, and I wasn't planning to film with him, because I thought he's way too overexposed," Wrong said.
But then one of the "NY Med" videographers, Valery Lyman, "begged me to spend a little time with him (and) she comes back with this footage and I couldn't stop watching," said Wrong.
Oz's "DNA is extraordinary. He's like 1 in 10 million," he said. Oz sounds more like his TV persona than a stereotypical surgeon while speaking with patients (and who's also seen joking with and being fussed over by nurses who've known him since before he was famous).