Priceline Kills off William Shatner as Pitchman
All good things must come to an end. The curtain has come down on veteran actor William Shatner’s long running role as the Negotiator in the popular Priceline commercials.
Just as Capt. James T. Kirk died in the line of duty, Shatner’s Priceline Negotiator has now moved on to his final frontier, the “undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveler returns.”
They killed him off, but he died heroically, of course.
“Save yourselves — some money,” he says, handing his cellphone to a passenger as he and the bus tumble off the bridge into a dry creek bed where it explodes and burns.
“I’m in grief mode,” a droll Shatner said by phone Wednesday. “It’s not the first time I’ve had an iconic character die off.” They did the same thing to Captain Kirk in 1994, in the movie “Star Trek: Generations.”
He’s been a pitchman for Priceline for 14 years, five of those as the relentless Negotiator preaching the gospel of travel bargains. But Priceline executives decided an advertising change was needed to reflect the company’s broader strategy.
Shatner promoted Priceline as a website where travel prices are flexible and subject to bidding. However, Priceline bosses are changing their business model from a name-your-price model to a fixed-price approach.
Ironically, Shatner is losing his job because he was so good at it. Ad industry observers say if he hadn’t been so effective, he would have been replaced long ago.
Shatner made a fortune doing commercials for Priceline, but he’s not losing any sleep over losing this gig. He’s already moving on, and putting finishing touches on his one-man show that opens on Broadway next month. He calls it — what else — “Shatner’s World: We Just Live in It.”