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"