The final of The Apprentice - won by Stella English - was watched by an average audience of 8.3 million people, overnight figures show.
A peak audience of 10.3 million tuned at at the start of the two-hour finale in which English beat Chris Bates to become Lord Sugar's apprentice.
Last year's final, won by Yasmina Siadatan, was watched by an average audience of 9.3 million viewers.
English, 31, will start her job at Lord Sugar's Viglen company on 4 January.
"Lord Sugar did say you can have the rest of the year off - that's a couple of weeks," she told BBC One's Breakfast.
"He's a true salesman."
English and Bates, 23, led teams made up of former contestants, in creating and marketing a new brand of alcoholic drink.
English, who had been head of business management at a Japanese bank, said: "There were times that I felt very tired and it was much harder than I ever thought it would be.
"But in terms of quitting, there was absolutely no way."
She said she hoped to provide a "better quality of life" for her two young sons.
Lord Sugar said the job at Viglen, which provides IT services, largely in education, needed "a very, very good organiser and someone who's very, very switched on - she's got the brain to do it".
He said he would be happy to discuss potential employment with Bates.