Paul Hollywood decided to join The Great British Bake Off on Channel 4 despite being approached by the BBC about Top Gear.
The judge, 50, is jumping ship for the rival channel even though co-judge Mary Berry, and presenters Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins, are staying put.
A TV source said: “He was offered a significant role on Top Gear. It was serious money. The word is he would only get it if he signed up exclusively to the BBC.”
Top Gear relaunched earlier this year with Chris Evans at the helm, but the Radio 2 DJ later quit following falling viewing figures.
A BBC source said there were discussions about Top Gear, but not for a full presenting role.
“There were discussions about a guest presenting role for Top Gear. It was not a full presenting role,” the source said.
Paul has come under fire from fans of the show for moving to Channel 4 – after his co-host Mary and the presenters opted not to follow the dough.
The star is getting a pay rise, with reports suggesting he could be earning £300,000 by making the move.
Until now, he is said to have been paid around £60,000 per series.
After days of speculation, Mary announced she was saying “farewell to soggy bottoms”.
The baking queen, 81, who gained national treasure status on the back of Bake Off, decided not to move to the rival broadcaster and said she would stay with the BBC out of loyalty.
But Paul, famous for his steely gaze and often dubbed a “silver fox”, said he could not “turn my back” on Bake Off as the white tent is where he belongs.
He said: “Since I was a kid, baking has been part of my life. The seven series inside the tent have created some great memories. Best of all, I have felt so pleased to experience other people getting the baking bug, just as I did when my dad helped me make my first loaf.
“The Great British Bake Off has brought baking to the nation and we’ve seen people from all walks of life and backgrounds experience the highs and lows of competition, and more importantly helping each other.
“It’s been a huge part of my life in the past few years and I just couldn’t turn my back on all that – the bakers themselves, the bakes, the team that makes it, and of course the tent, the bunting, and who could forget… the squirrels.”