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William Shatner's Priceline Negotiator returns from the dead

The Priceline Negotiator is back.

You may recall that William Shatner's popular TV pitchman was supposedly killed off seven months ago in a fiery bus crash, but now he's mysteriously returned in a new commercial airing this week.

In the new spot, Shatner's character resurfaces on a beach with a surfboard under his arm. 

"You've been busy for a dead man," a man dressed in a suit tells Mr. Negotiator. "After you jumped ship in Bangkok, I thought I'd lost you."

"Surfing is my life now," replies Shatner's character, who tells the world that Priceline has "even faster, easier ways to save you money."

When Priceline killed off the Negotiator in January, "we really weren’t sure which direction our advertising was going to go in,” said spokesman Brian Ek.

But in the past month, he said, Priceline has introduced a new product called Express Deals. Here's how it works: Priceline shares information about a hotel's star level, neighborhood and amenities along with a specially discounted price, but doesn't give the name of the hotel until the customer books. 

Shatner's character "very much fits the negotiating theme, so it makes sense to incorporate him again,” Ek said. 

“He has a lot of fans out there.”

The new ad from the Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners agency doesn't address how the Negotiator survived, but Shatner, 81, told The Associated Press his preferred fantasy: "A beautiful girl gave me mouth-to-mouth resuscitation." 

This is not the first time a Shatner character has died in the line of duty. Capt. Kirk, played memorably by Shatner in the "Star Trek" series, met his demise in the 1994 movie “Star Trek: Generations.”

Unlike Priceline Negotiator, however, Capt. Kirk has yet to come back from the dead.

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