Patrick Swayze's Cancer Story Draws Large Public

Jan 8, 2009–ABC enjoyed its best Wednesday in months due to Barbara Walters special with Patrick Swayze, and “People's Choice Awards” bounced back from last year's record lows.

According to preliminary nationals from Nielsen, Walters' interview with Patrick Swayze, who is battling pancreatic cancer, averaged a 3.0 rating/8 share in adults 18-49 and 12.6 million viewers overall — tying with NBC's “Law & Order” for the hour's demo lead while also standing as the night's most-watched program overall. It's certainly an improvement for ABC over the low-rated “Dirty Sexy Money,” which had aired in the timeslot.

Also Wednesday, the “People's Choice Awards” on CBS averaged a solid 2.9/8 in
18-49 and 9.3 million viewers overall from 9 to 11 p.m., rising nicely over last year's taped edition of the kudocast which was light on celebrities due to the writers strike.   Despite the bounce back, the show was down 15% vs. its performance of two years ago.