The former breakfast weather girl, 41, has apparently been in secret talks with the shows’ bosses to beat favourite Kate Garraway to the job.
An insider told The Mirror: “Fiona’s departure is a blow, but this gives us a chance to give the whole show a spring clean. Ulrika is perfect – beautiful and intelligent, with an ability to laugh at herself.”
The mum of four, who has presented Gladiators and Shooting Stars, is up against stiff competition from the BBC’s Kate Silverton and Christine Bleakley.
Other younger contenders include Myleene Klass, Jenni Falconer and Holly Willoughby
However, one woman who doesn’t seem to want the job is GMTV Newshour presenter Penny Smith. She wants to take time to finish writing her novel.
“I’m trying to take a holiday away from TV so I can finish it. I think John Stapleton and myself are slowly heading together for the retirement home.”