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Steve Jobs once told Ken Burns he should ditch PBS because they weren’t paying him enough

Steve Jobs was "absolutely certain" that Ken Burns shouldn't be at PBS, Burns told CNBC's "Binge."

The late Apple co-founder and CEO and the legendary documentarian were friends — Jobs' daughter even worked for a while as an intern for PBS, Burns said. But Jobs thought Burns' deal with PBS was "terrible," according to Burns, maker of the famous "The War" series.

"He had his lawyer, you know, talk to my lawyer, Burns said. "And he said, "No... I think you've got a good deal. I think .... you've got this nice niche and you're protected."

Ken Burns
Kate Rooney | CNBC
Ken Burns

Of course, Burns went on at PBS to do some of the most influential work of his 30-plus year film career, including "The Central Park Five," and "The Dust Bowl." While Burns said mobile phones have some "evil" elements, he had "great admiration" for Jobs and that the two men had "a curiosity about each other."

Burns said that he doesn't recognize the Jobs that has been portrayed in biopic films, including Aaron Sorkin's 2015 film, "Steve Jobs." Jobs is often portrayed as as zealously competitive toward his rivals, but Burns said that is not the side of Jobs he ever saw.

"I have friends who worked at Apple and who have stories that are horror stories in that regard," Burns said. "And I've seen the documentary that's very critical of him. And I've seen the Aaron Sorkin script ... but it doesn't bear resemblance to the person that I know, which makes this whole question of making history so interesting. Even those closest to us, the people we're spending our lives with, remain, in some ways, enigmatic."

Devour the full season of "Binge" with Carl Quintanilla here.