Springer is a much closer fit, as is pro wrestling. The common thread is staged confrontations - in Downey's case, often involving willing accomplices like Sharpton - with a riled up studio audience as an integral part of the show. Also, as I recall politics was a minor part of Downey's show. Yes, he insulted liberals, but he insulted pretty much everybody. Kooks, sad sacks and just regular folks were his targets more often than political opponents.