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Kyle Bornheimer thinks it's time to see more TV shows on movie screens

The actor and comedian, star of popular TV sitcoms including Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Breaking Bad, says social justice issues show it's time for new stories -- and new voices to tell them.

Bornheimer attends the premiere of HBO's Avenue 5 at Avalon Theater on January 14, 2020 in Los Angeles.
Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

This story is part of I'm So Obsessed (subscribe here), our podcast featuring interviews with actors, artists, celebrities and creative types about their work, career and current obsessions.

It's not lost on Kyle Bornheimer that the production pause in movies and TV shows caused by the coronavirus pandemic has coincided with long-overdue calls for social change in the US. And while the actor and comedian doesn't know how the world-altering events of 2020 will play out on our screens, big and small, he does believe the entertainment industry will change.

"There's a [hold] on what kinds of stories are going to come out of this period and what stories we want to tell and what stories we think people want to hear," Bornheimer said during an interview for CNET's I'm So Obsessed podcast series.

"One thing we know is going to happen right now ... is that we'll see stories from perspectives that we have not had enough of," he says. "If we keep this movement going, and if this becomes what the industry should become -- true representation and true diversity -- I do know that those are stories that we're going to be telling, that we're going to be hearing. And we're going to be celebrating and fostering those artistic voices more."

Bornheimer, who's starred as Sgt. Teddy Ramos in the police comedy series Brooklyn Nine-Nine; as an obnoxious stock broker in Breaking Bad; and as a passenger on an interplanetary cruise ship in HBO's space comedy Avenue 5, says he's "thrilled and blessed" for the chance to have been part of the new "golden age of television" over the past 15 years. But he knows that current events mean it's time to rethink TV programs that focus on policing in the US, even comedies like Brooklyn Nine-Nine, because every TV show exists within the environment in which they're created.

"Every police-centered show is different and has a different take and a different comedic voice or dramatic voice or thriller voice. We all are going to have to examine what that means now that we are so collectively being educated right now," he adds. "The conversation about reimagining public safety and what police do is an important one and a much needed and long overdue conversation."

While he's a huge fan of TV and streaming at home, Bornheimer also loves going to the movies and says the time is right to "overhaul" theaters to address safety concerns caused by the pandemic, as well as the high cost of movie tickets. His idea: have TV shows be part of a subscription-based movie club.

"I think there needs to be more models for how people can keep costs down, but can go to the movie theater and have that big movie theater experience," he says. "The streaming service model is a good one ... it can help drive people to a streaming service to have even a TV show play on the big screen every once in a while."

"There's lots of talk during really big cinematic shows like Game of Thrones -- I've seen them on big screens -- to have people go see a premiere or a series finale on the big screen as part of their subscription that they already paid for," he adds. "Once you're there, then you see on the marquee 'Oh, that new Ryan Coogler movie's out, I want to see that too.' So I think that can be sort of a holistic approach, to feed all the different  areas of the industry."

In a wide-ranging conversation, I also talked to Bornheimer about his obsessions, which include the Blue Apron food delivery service and working on his handyman skills so he can take on some home projects while we remain in semi-quarantine.

Listen to my entire conversation with Bornheimer on Spotify or Apple Podcasts. You can also subscribe to I'm So Obsessed on your favorite podcast app. In each episode, Patrick Holland and I catch up with an artist, actor or creator to learn about work, career and current obsessions.