6.4 million watch return of The Apprentice on BBC One

The Apprentice 2012

The first episode of The Apprentice 2012 was watched by over 6 million viewers last night, as Lord Sugar set the new batch of 16 candidates their first task.

The opening episode was viewed by an average audience of 6.4 million, peaking with 6.7 million viewers.

It was down a million viewers on last year's launch, but on a par with the 2009 opener, the last series to air in the earlier Spring time slot.

BBC Two spin-off You're Fired, hosted by comedian Dara Ó Briain was also down on last year, but still posted a healthy 2 million viewers following the main show.

The show helped BBC comfortably beat ITV1 in the primetime ratings, with a 24% share.

Lord Sugar was quick to promote the figures, writing on Twitter this morning: "Apprentice took 28% share of viewing for 9pm slot peaking at 6.8m viewers. Over 50% more that @piersmorgan Sob stories gets"

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