Primetime scores terror-ific ratings

ABC hasn't had much to smile about this summer, but the network got big ratings for Thursday night's Primetime focusing on the foiled terror plot.

The ABC News show, which doesn't have a regular spot in the fall, nearly topped CSI and outperformed NBC's America's Got Talent as well as Fox's NFL preseason game between the Indianapolis Colts and the St. Louis Rams, which was in the field for So You Think You Can Dance.

The Primetime installment was anchored at 10 p.m. by Diane Sawyer and had reports from Brian Ross, John Quinones, and others. It delivered 8.7 million viewers and a 2.8 rating/8 share in the adults 18-49 demographic, according to preliminary data released Friday by Nielsen Media Research. That was just behind the night's winner in total viewers and the demo, CSI (9.6 million, 2.9/8).

It also beat the America's Got Talent results show (8.6 million, 2.7/8) as well ABC's Grey's Anatomy at 9 p.m. (7.4 million, 2.5/7) and the 8 p.m. airing of Big Brother (7.3 million, 2.7/9). NBC's Windfall came in fourth at 10 p.m. with 4.7 million viewers and a 1.9/6.

Ratings for Fox's football aren't reliable in the fast nationals; Nielsen estimates in non-time-zone-adjusted data that it averaged 5.7 million viewers and a 2.1/7.

Nightly averages: ABC (7.6 million, 2.4/8); CBS (8.6 million, 2.7/8); NBC (6.3 million, 2.2/7); Fox (5.7 million, 2.1/7); The WB (2 million, 0.8/3); and UPN (1.9 million, 0.7/2).