Qatar's leader plans meetings with ruling family members to possibly start handing over power to the crown prince, the Gulf-based network Al Jazeera reported.
The report gave no other details about the expected talks, but Al Jazeera was founded by Qatar's government and closely reflects its views on internal issues.
Such a transition by the 61-year-old emir, Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, would be highly unusual among the Gulf Arab autocracies, where most rulers remain until death.
Qatar has given no reports on the emir's health, but he is believed to be ailing.
Western-allied Qatar is a leading sponsor of Syrian rebels and is hosting US-led peace efforts with Afghanistan's Taliban.
But no immediate policy changes would be expected under the 33-year-old crown prince, Sheik Tamim.