William Shatner’s franchise characters always have a good, long run. He played Captain Kirk in four different decades before Kirk’s heroic demise in Star Trek Generations. Now Shatner’s Priceline Negotiator has suffered a fiery ending to what proved a literal five-year mission. (This was the most recent iteration of Shatner’s role as Priceline’s public face over the past 14 years.)
The Negotiator is gone because Priceline is adopting a new fixed-price business model.
Shatner’s character meets his demise in a fiery tourist bus explosion possibly inspired by the unresolved predicament that closes the 1969 version of The Italian Job, with a bus teetering over the edge of a cliff, but in the Priceline commercial taken to the worst possible outcome.
A video of the commercial is available at this link.
Since Priceline is saying Shatner is still under contract, I would not be surprised to see his character reappear – much like “The Phantom Empire” with Gene Autry.
That makes three times Shatner has had an iconic character role die on him! Few remember those lean years when Star Trek was a dead TV program, no movies had been made, and Bill himself was lean. The actor was reduced to spots on TV that advertised Loblaws, a Canadian grocery chain. He would roam the aisles and finish his 30 seconds by slamming a fish into an open palm and declare, “By Gosh, the price is right!” (Sound familiar?) Unforunately, All Good Things end. His last 30 second spot ended when he leaned too far into the frozen fish section, toppled over into the Haddock and Blue Fin and exploded in flames. But as the Japanese commercial fishing spokesman said, “by gawd the plaice was light.”
Here’s Shatner & and a penguin at Loblaws: