[A]s Mr. Fallon is well aware, viewers haven’t seen him in quite the same light since an interview he conducted with Mr. Trump in September, which was widely criticized for its fawning, forgiving tone….
Mr. Fallon acknowledges now that the Trump interview was a setback, if not quite a mistake, and he has absorbed at least a portion of the anger that was directed at him by critics and online detractors.
“They have a right to be mad,” a chastened Mr. Fallon said in an interview this month. “If I let anyone down, it hurt my feelings that they didn’t like it. I got it.”
But if these events prompted Mr. Fallon to search his own soul, he said they did not compel him to make widespread changes at “The Tonight Show.”
The program is still profitable and strongly supported by advertisers, so if Mr. Fallon faces any crisis, it’s an existential one: What if the broader shift to a more partisan, more openly anti-Trump late-night isn’t temporary? If it has a longer life and a bigger impact than anyone foresees, what does he want his show to be?