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In this image released by priceline.com, William Shatner is shown in a scene from a Priceline.com commercial. - Provided courtesy of AP Photo/priceline.com

William Shatner's Priceline Negotiator character killed off

01/19/2012 by Olivia Allin

William Shatner is done with his days of bargain-hunting as the Priceline Negotiator, but he's going out with a bang.

The 80-year-old actor will be killed off in a dramatic finale advertisement for the booking website. In a TV spot set to debut next week, the Negotiator rescues tourists from a bus which is teetering on the railing of a bridge.

"Save yourselves -- some money," he said, handing his cell phone to a customer as he and the bus fall off the cliff with an explosion.

"I'm in grief mode," Shatner told the Associated Press. "It's not the first time I've had an iconic character die off."

Shatner has worked with Priceline for 14 years, five as the Negotiator, but the company has decided to go in a new direction. During Shatner's reign, Priceline offered customers discounts based on bidding, but the company also offers a set discount-price booking for over 200,000 hotels in 140 countries and plans to advertise this facet in the future.

"It's a tough decision, but the bottom line is Priceline had to do it," Peter Sealey, adjunct professor at the Claremont Graduate University's school of management told the wire service. "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. I don't know if I would have gone as far as the bus exploding."

Shatner is no stranger to on-screen deaths, his Captain James T. Kirk died in the line of duty in 1994's "Star Trek: Generations."

"It was a great run," the Emmy-winning actor said of the Priceline gig. "If the management says this is the end, this is the end."

Meanwhile, Priceline is hoping there won't be any backlash from killing off the iconic Negotiator.

"We certainly hope not. We had a great, long association with Mr. Shatner," Christopher Soder, CEO of Priceline.com North America said, adding hastily, "I didn't mean to use the past tense. He's still under contract with us."

The actor, who is set to debut his one-man show "Shatner's World: We Just Live in It" on Broadway next month, remained mum on whether his character might return from the grave in future Priceline advertisements but he joked of a possible resurrection, "I'm going to make them pay through the nose."

Shatner played Captain Kirk on the original "Star Trek" series from 1966 to 1974 and reprised his role in movies based on the hit science fiction franchise, beginning in 1979 with "Star Trek: The Motion Picture." He later went on to star in shows such as "Boston Legal," where he won a Golden Globe for his role as Denny Crane, and recently appeared on the comedy series "$#*! My Dad Says."

Watch William Shatner's Priceline Negotiator character's end in the commercial below.

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