Lord Alan Sugar wanted to quit 'The Apprentice' because he hated having to employ the winner.
The 69-year-old businessman has admitted the original prize that gave one contestant a spot in his multi-national company infuriated his staff so much that he was forced to give the BBC an ultimatum in 2011 to change the format or he'd walk.
He said: "It wasn't a good idea and that was it. I said, 'I'm not doing that any more'. Giving someone a job was turning out to be quite difficult.
"It was problematic as far as other employees were concerned. You don't just create a job out of thin air. Otherwise you don't have a good business do you? There was never an empty job.
"I would frankly not be still doing this if I hadn't changed the format."
The BBC retained Lord Sugar by making the apprentices fight for a £250,000 investment from the billionaire to help kick-start their own business.
But the TV personality thinks even that won't be enough to keep the show going in "20 years" because the ideas are getting bigger and better.
He said: "The only change could be if it goes on for the next 20 years, it won't be £250,000, it'll be £25 million."
Meanwhile, 18 new candidates will soon fall victim to Lord Sugar's sharp tongue when the new series of 'The Apprentice' kicks off and the no-nonsense businessman has insisted his quips aren't scripted.
He told The Sun newspaper: "I don't know how you can script things to say when you're sat with 18 people in front of you.
"You don't know what's coming out of their mouths next. It's off the cuff, obviously."
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