The Apprentice 2011: did the new format final do it for you?

It might have been a ratings success, but has business-tainment taken a turn for the worse?

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Like much of the British television viewing public, I’m extremely sensitive to change.  Let’s face it, when it comes to our favourite programmes, we’re creatures of habit – I’ve only just got used to Corrie being on Thursdays, and now I hear that it’s returning to Wednesday nights from late 2012. Give me some time, guys, just give me some time. 

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Although
to a TV executive, a minor format tweak may be simply “running air”
through a well-loved programme, to a nation of telly addicts, such
tinkering can be a catastrophe – look at what happened when they turned
MasterChef into The X Factor, the world almost stopped spinning (for a
bit).

With this in mind – imagine the moaning that went on
(largely on Twitter and in my front room) about the way The Apprentice
was concluded this year…

The interview round is the
final task?  What, no returning candidates?  No
bitching and back-stabbing in the boardroom? Blimey, I don’t know why they bothered with the last 11 weeks of sales tasks when the decision seems to come down to who has the best (or least bad) business plan, not who has the greatest record in the show – ahem, Helen.

It’s an outrage, it wasn’t broke and it didn’t need fixing…

However, despite dissenting voices such as mine, this year’s final, which saw inventor Tom
Pellereau “hired” as Lord Sugar’s new business partner (cue arguments
about whether the programme’s title is still accurate), was a ratings
success.  

A bumper average audience of 9.1 million (a 36.3 per cent share)
tuned in to watch the final play out on BBC1 last night between 9pm and
11pm, half a million more than watched Stella English win the 2010
contest.  Indeed, such was the excitement this year that the programme
hit a record-breaking five minute peak of 10.7 million just as Lord
Sugar gave Mr Pellereau the good news. Yet more evidence that the people don’t know what’s good for them.

Now maybe this success is down to The Apprentice 2011 being the best series ever, perhaps it’s because the new format is more appealing, or maybe a wet weekend in July was the perfect time to screen the final?

Personally, I thought this year’s finale was a lot too much sitting around in offices, and not enough running around in the street with a bunch of “losers” in tow. 

But who cares what I think?  The internet is all about democracy and freedom of speech, right?

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