Priceline, the travel bargain site, is killing off their iconic Priceline Negotiator, played by William Shatner for the last 5 years, by sending him off a cliff. In a new commercial set to air on Monday, Shatner rescues vacationers who are teetering on a bus over on a bridge. Save yourselves - some money, he says, before handing his cellphone to a passenger as he and the bus tumble into a dry creek bed. An explosion follows.
I'm in grief mode, Shatner told the Cleveland Plains Dealer. It's not the first time I've had an iconic character die off. Shatner played Capt. James T. Kirk on Star Trek, and was killed off there too.
The 80-year-old Shatner, who has been working for Priceline for the last 14 years, five as The Negotiator, was killed off so the company could focus on their broader strategy. The challenge is harder to get people's attention than it used to be. So we decided to do something really over the top to get the message across, Christopher Soder , CEO of Priceline, said.
It's a tough decision, but the bottom line is Priceline had to do it, said Peter Sealey, adjunct professor at the Claremont Graduate University's school of management. They're changing their business model from a name-your-price model to a fixed-price approach.
Soder said he doesn't anticipate any backlash from killing Shatner off. We certainly hope not. We had a great, long association with Mr. Shatner, Soder said, adding hastily, I didn't mean to use the past tense. He's still under contract with us.
Shatner is moving on, and will be appearing in a one-man show titled Shatner's World: We Just Live in It, premiering next month on Broadway.