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KABC-TV Los Angeles Exec Was 83

KABC-TV Los Angeles Exec Was 83

Former KABC Los Angeles executive Tom Van Amburg has died. He was 83.

Van Amburg died Monday, June 24 in Los Angeles at home after a short illness.

Van Amburg is survived by his children, including Apple TV+ head of worldwide video Zack Van Amburg and marketing executive Chris Van Amburg.  

Van Amburg is best known for serving as general manager of ABC’s flagship O&O television station KABC-TV in Los Angeles, playing a key role in making the Los Angeles station the most-watched local news outlet at the time. Throughout influential tenure he led the station to high ratings and was involved in the shepherding of programming innovations including A.M. Los Angeles with Regis Philbin, which would later evolve to Live with Regis and Kathie Lee before Kelly Ripa stepped in as a co-host for Live With Regis and Kelly. The show is now Live with Kelly and Mark. Other programs also include afternoon talk shows 330 and Eye on L.A. Under his leadership, legendary Southern California broadcasters Jerry Dunphy, Christine Lund, Paul Moyer and Chuck Henry were among those hired.

Van Amburg briefly ran KCBS-TV, with KCBS news veteran Don Dunkel becoming the acting news director. He later took the role of CEO of Vanamedia and production company Tri-Crown Productions as a subsidiary.  

Van Amburg would also take to the airwaves with his own style and weekly editorials. He brought the 1984 Olympics to Los Angeles on KABC-TV, hosting specials such as Coliseum Coliseum, which tracked the historic Los Angeles venue to its roots in Rome. He also hosted Eyewitness Anonymous, profiling local criminals and ending each segment with his signature catch-phrase, “Turn ‘em in!”

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Born in Fresno, Calif, Van Amburg grew up in Northern California. In addition to running KABC-TV Los Angeles, Van Amburg worked for ABC O&O stations in New York, Chicago and San Francisco. His brother and former Bay Area TV news anchorman, Fred Van Amburg, worked on San Francisco’s KGO-TV in the 1970s and ’80s and was famously known on air as just Van Amburg.

Van Amburg is survived by his wife Mary; children Zack, Chris and Arden; and 6 grandchildren.

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