Apprentice return catapults ratings

Celebrity Apprentice trumps the competition, taking top spot in Toronto and Vancouver.

The Sunday night 9 pm time slot was dominated by E! this week with its Celebrity Apprentice premiere taking top spot in Toronto and Vancouver, outperforming CTV’s Criminal Minds and The Mentalist and showing a key audience growth in Toronto of 32% during the course of the show.

‘Canadians simply love the show and missed The Donald,’ Brad Parry, VP marketing strategy for E! tells MiC. ‘The program, now more than ever, taps into the psyche of what is going on with Canadians during some tough economic times and there is an inherent feeling that we as normal people could do a much better job than the celebrities. Viewers love second guessing their decisions and the always entertaining boardroom battles make for great TV.’

But while the jump can be attributed to the show being a fan favourite, Canwest’s integrated campaign leveraged a publicity effort with Canada’s great northern hope (Tom Green), as well as a web promo running across its sites which asks Canadians which celebrity should be fired each week. The campaign includes strategically placed print ads in all of Canwest’s major market papers’ entertainment sections, coupled with a heavy on-air push that included Global and Canwest’s specialty nets. Canwest also skinned its site with the premiere date leading up to The Donald’s triumphant return.