McQueen was chosen at the end of a gruelling 12-week process
More than 10 million viewers tuned in to see Sir Alan Sugar choose his next Apprentice - the BBC show's best audience since the programme began.
The ratings spike came at the end of the show when recruitment sales manager Lee McQueen, 30, was selected ahead of retail buyer Claire Young.
The show was seen by an average of 8.9 million - 1.4m more than the average audience for last week's edition.
Last year's Apprentice final was seen by an average of 6.8 million viewers.
"Over 10 million people watched the moment when Sir Alan Sugar chose his apprentice," said BBC One controller Jay Hunt.
"It's fantastic that a show with business at its heart can become unmissable television for such a large audience."
The Apprentice final trounced its terrestrial competition, attracting more than double the audience of any other programme in its time slot, according to unofficial overnight figures.
Least affected was the Euro 2008 football match between Switzerland and Turkey, which drew a peak audience of 4.7 million on BBC Two.
The 30-year-old became famous for his "reverse pterodactyl" impression
Some 3.1 million saw Britain's Biggest Babies on ITV1, a million more than River Cottage Spring on Channel 4. The Hotel Inspector: Revisited attracted 500,000 to Five.
An average of 4.6 million watched The Apprentice: You're Fired, screened on BBC Two directly after the final.
A third programme, The Apprentice: You're Hired, also performed strongly, with an average of five million viewers tuning in to see McQueen's first interview since his victory.
The Apprentice challenges aspiring entrepreneurs to prove themselves in the world of business in the hope of winning a contract to work alongside Sir Alan.
McQueen's job - which involves launching a digital advertising product for one of the British tycoon's companies - begins on 1 July.