You know, CBS’ soap “Guiding Light” has been forced into cancellation by its owner, Procter & Gamble. The last episode, after 72 years, is on Sept. 18.

P&G used to own several soaps. But they’ve wanted out of the business for a long time. Little by little, they’ve whittled their stable down to two shows. After “GL” is canceled, they’ll just have “As the World Turns.”

One trick for not turning viewer anger into displaced resentment toward P&G brands like Crest and Pringles: Turn the fans against the show so they won’t miss it. In the last few weeks, maybe thinking no one’s watching, the “GL” producers have made the remaining episodes unwatchable. They’ve allowed the actors to use coarse language generally unsuitable to network TV. You can only imagine older fans wincing when they hear “pissed off” or “douchebag” uttered by their favorite characters.

For the last 18 months, P&G has also given “GL” substandard producing. There is constant loud rock music — sort of MySpace reject stuff — playing over dialogue. Most of it is in direct contrast to the scene being played on the screen. (Maybe considering the new low standards of language, it’s a good thing!)

There is also no attention to detail. Yesterday, veteran actor Peter Simon returned to the show playing Dr. Ed Bauer. Behind him, hanging on the wall of his “office” (the soap no longer uses sets, but real locations) was a medical school diploma for some other doctor–maybe the real life physician whose office cheaped-out P&G used for the shoot. If the producers don’t care, why should the viewers? By Sept. 18, P&G must hope, none will be left.

Sad, after all these years. Me, I’ve switched to Colgate Total.

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