Tribune said the move will let one company take advantage of growth in broadcasting and allow the other to focus on newspapers, an industry where revenue has been declining for years.
Chicago-based Tribune owns 23 TV stations and cable network WGN America. Earlier this month, it announced plans to buy Local TV Holdings and its 19 television stations for $2.73 billion. It also owns eight daily newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times and The Baltimore Sun.
Fellow media company News Corp. completed a split into separate publishing and entertainment companies late last month.
Since the split became final on June 28, shares of News Corp., now a standalone publishing company, have edged up about 1 percent, closing Tuesday at $15.71. Shares of Twenty-First Century Fox Inc., the entertainment company, have risen about 4 percent to close Tuesday at $30.09.
Tribune, which emerged from bankruptcy protection at the end of 2012, said that over the past several months its board and management have been looking at ways to boost value for its stakeholders and long-term growth.
Tribune said in February that it hired a pair of investment banks to help it sell its newspapers. The move was largely at the behest of the group of lenders that took over the company as part of its reorganization.
Under the proposal announced Wednesday, the newspapers would be spun off into an independent company to be called Tribune Publishing Co.
The newspapers have been hurt by a shift that has driven more readers and advertisers to the Internet and mobile devices. The downturn in print advertising was one of the factors that caused Tribune to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2008.
The remaining company would include Tribune's local television stations; WGN radio and cable networks; its television production, digital and media services ventures; and its interests in Classified Ventures, CareerBuilder, and The TV Food Network and real estate.
Tribune said its board will develop a detailed plan for the split over the next nine to 12 months. After the split is complete, both companies will have separate boards and management.