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Jimmy Fallon Addresses Ratings Decline and Controversy over His Trump Interview
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18 May 2017 02:13 PM EST

-by Laura Tucker, Staff Writer; Image: Jimmy Fallon plays with Donald Trump's hair (Image Source Screenshot)

Finally, several months later, Jimmy Fallon is finally addressing the criticism and rumors surrounding both him and The Tonight Show.

He was surprised over the reaction to his Donald Trump interview and talks about the rumors of his out-of-control-drinking as well as the decline in ratings for his show.

In September, Trump, the Republican presidential nominee at the time, was a guest on the late-night talk show. While some fans were hoping for Fallon to go more hard-hitting, instead he kept the interview light and even tousled his hair. This incurred the wrath of many viewers, including David Letterman.

"I didn't do it to humanize him," Fallon explained of running his fingers through that well-known hairdo. "I almost did it to minimize him. I didn't think that would be a compliment: 'He did the thing that we all wanted to do.'"

Yet, he also realizes fans had a right to be mad about it.

"If I let anyone down," he added, "it hurt my feelings that they didn't like it. I got it."

"I'm a people pleaser," admitted the late-night host. "If there's one bad thing on Twitter about me, it will make me upset. So, after this happened, I was devastated. I didn't mean anything by it. I was just trying to have fun."

Looking back on it now, he wishes he would have just addressed the backlash with his audience right away, similar to what Stephen Colbert did in the past few weeks after his comments about Trump.

"I didn't talk about it, and I should have talked about it," he said. "I regret that."

Shortly after that, the New York Post published a report stating that NBC executives had "fears that Fallon was out of control" in regard to his drinking. This was after he'd had assorted injuries, with one of them being known to have happened while drinking. Bob Greenblatt, NBC entertainment chief, disputed this.

"I could never do a day-to-day job if I was drinking every night," explained Fallon. "That's just kicking you when you're down."

"I don't half-ass it," he explained. "If we're going to do this, we're going to do it right. There will be a day when we can allow ourselves to be tired. I don't know when it is, but it can't be now."

Once Trump took office in January, and Colbert was very hard-hitting against the administration in his monologues, Fallon's ratings started to decline while Colbert saw an increase. But Fallon's not worried.

"I never, ever care. I'll know when someone fires me," he said, adding, "It's not The Jimmy Fallon Show – it's The Tonight Show."

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