Simon Cowell has admitted that there are moments on his TV shows - often accused of being exploitative - which make him feel "uncomfortable".
Both the X Factor and Britain's Got Talent have been accused of ridiculing vulnerable contestants for the purposes of entertainment in the past.
Simon, 53, who is bringing back the X Factor this year with changes, said to include replacing Tulisa Contostavlos with a new judge, denied that his ITV shows exploit people.
Asked whether he thought that he was playing with people's lives, he told the Radio Times: "It happens on every show you make.
"There is a moment where you feel uncomfortable, but then you look at things with perspective and the truth is - over the years - the show has benefited a lot of people's lives who wouldn't have had an opportunity."
He said that contestants had to be "interesting" but said that viewers did not want to see troubled people on his shows.
Simon admitted that there had been too much emphasis on the judges and not enough on the contestants in previous series. He said that this year's X Factor would see changes to "every aspect of the show in some particular way" adding: "It will look ... slightly different."
Simon would not deny Tulisa had been axed and refused to divulge the identity of the new judge, but said that he had taken a gamble with someone who would appeal to young and middle-aged viewers.
The TV and music mogul's shows have run into controversy over the years with the well-being of contestants such as the X Factor's Ceri Rees and Shirlena Johnson questioned. In last year's Britain's Got Talent, a nine-year-old broke down in tears sparking criticism about the age of some performers.
Simon said that auditions in the next series of the show, judged by Amanda Holden, David Walliams, Alesha Dixon and Cowell, would feature "the usual - the good the bad and the ugly... some people who shouldn't have been there."