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Record finale for Blighty’s ‘Apprentice’

Final installment of show won a 27% share

The U.K. version of the Mark Burnett-created reality skein “The Apprentice” exited on a high Wednesday night, achieving a record audience for BBC2.

Across the full 90 minutes, the final installment of the show won a 27% share, as 5.7 million viewers tuned in to watch wannabe Michelle Dewberry win a £100,000 ($188,000)-a-year gig working for hardboiled British businessman Alan Sugar.

“The Apprentice,” the penultimate episode of which was seen by an audience of 4.8 million, won its timeslot despite stiff competition from ITV1, which aired a top European soccer contest, Middlesborough vs. Seville.

Given this success, chances are that BBC webheads will run the next season of “The Apprentice” on flagship web BBC1, where even bigger audiences are likely.

Overall ratings were up around 50% for the series, the second edition to be made for British auds. Interest in the show was spurred on by wall-to-wall media coverage and a heavy marketing blitz from the Beeb.

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