Sugar's no threat to our Apprentice, insists TV3
THE new series of Alan Sugar's Apprentice poses no threat to viewing figures at TV3, station representatives claim.
The British version of the hit reality programme returns after an 18-month hiatus next week.
Irish comedian Dara O Briain takes the hot seat for the first time, interviewing expelled candidates in the accompanying You're Fired show.
Last year, multi-millionaire tycoon Sugar's programme was delayed by the BBC due to his position as the enterprise expert in the then Labour Government.
The 16 hopefuls who face the London businessman in his boardroom were revealed earlier this week as anticipation for the newly formatted series builds.
The Irish Apprentice has secured 517,000 viewers this year, compared to 240,000 in 2009. Last Monday's episode was a 115pc jump on the previous year's figures.
Meanwhile You're Fired, hosted by Anton Savage, was watched by 219,800 people, compared to just 131,000 who tuned in to watch Brendan O'Connor last year.
"TV3 is absolutely not worried about Alan Sugar's Apprentice because traditionally it's always been on a Wednesday night," a spokeswoman said. "It's never been a problem before so I don't see why it would be this year. All the Irish support their own generally." And they are not perturbed that an Irishman fronts the after-show.
"Again we're not worried about Anton versus Dara at all because everyone who watches the Irish show wants to hear from the contestant who was kicked off the show," said TV3. "Anton has been absolutely amazing so far - we've got great feedback on his presenting style. Dara has a completely different style and it's a very different show."