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Patrick Swayze, Barbara Walters

ABC/ RON TOM

Wednesday TV's Big Winner: Patrick Swayze. The ailing star's tough-to-watch, impossible-to-tune-out Barbara Walters interview special averaged 12.6 million viewers, per Nielsen estimates, tops for the night. 

Wednesday TV's Big, if Not Entirely Complete Comeback: CBS' People's Choice Awards (9.3 million) was up 55 percent in viewers over last year's writers-strike-stricken affair. Compared to the show's most recent star-studded ceremony, in 2007, viewership was down about 18 percent.

CW's New Winning Strategy: Psychological terror. The network got, for it, a decent premiere from the horror-competition hybrid, 13: Fear Is Real (2.4 million). Among adults 18-34 at 8 p.m., the show was competitive against reruns and an all-new episode of NBC's canceled Knight Rider (5.7 million overall), a franchise that hasn't put a scare into anybody since 1982.

Biggest Surprise, After 27 Dresses Being Named Best Comedy: At 10 p.m., NBC's Law & Order (10.1 million) tied Walters' Swayze interview for first among adults 18-49.