Ke-yah! After 14 years, Priceline is chopping William Shatner as its spokesperson.
The travel agency is reportedly jettisoning Captain Kirk in an explosive final ad that will air starting Monday. In the 30-second spot, Shatner’s deal-dishing character the Negotiator rescues panicked vacationers from a bus teetering on a bridge’s railing.
“Save yourselves – some money,” he says, handing his cell phone to a passenger as he and the bus tumble into a dry creek bed. A violent explosion follows.
“I’m in grief mode,” Shatner told the AP. “It’s not the first time I’ve had an iconic character die off … It was a great run. [But] if the management says this is the end, this is the end.”
Shatner has long promoted Priceline as a site where consumers bid for deals. But the service is also a set-price discount-booking site, a side of the business the company wants to promote more effectively.
“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. Had he been less effective, he could have been allowed to fade away.”
Sealey added: “I don’t know if I would have gone as far as the bus exploding.”
The Shat is still under contract with Priceline for the time being, so there’s always a chance that he’ll eventually be resurrected (in a Super Bowl ad, perhaps?). But Shatner claimed that if the company decided to use him again, “I’m going to make them pay through the nose.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.