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Panel with the cast of The Flash at 2015 PaleyFest

A panel discussion, or simply a panel, involves a group of people gathered to discuss a topic in front of an audience, typically at scientific, business, or academic conferences, fan conventions, and on television shows. Panels usually include a moderator who guides the discussion and sometimes elicits audience questions, with the goal of being informative and entertaining.[1][2] Film panels at fan conventions have been credited with boosting box office returns by generating advance buzz.



The Walking Dead panel host Chris Hardwick takes a photo with actors Andrew Lincoln, Steven Yeun, Lauren Cohan, Michael Cudlitz, and Danai Gurira at the 2014 Comic-Con.

The typical format for a discussion panel includes a moderator in front of an audience.[3]

Television shows in the English-speaking world that feature a discussion panel format include Real Time with Bill Maher, Loose Women, The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, as well as segments of the long-running Meet the Press.[4] Quiz shows featuring this format, such as QI and Never Mind the Buzzcocks, are called panel games. The host of a panel is typically expected to bring a token refreshment or snack to the discussants.

Fan conventionsEdit

Panels at sci-fi fan conventions, such as San Diego Comic-Con and New York Comic-Con, have become increasingly popular; there are typically long lines to get access to the panels.[5] The panels often feature advance looks at upcoming films and video games.[6] Panels and the early screenings at conventions have been credited as increasing the popularity of blockbuster films in recent years.[7]

One of the earliest film panels was at the 1976 San Diego Comic-Con, when publicist Charles Lippincott hosted a slideshow—in front of a "somewhat skeptical" audience—for an upcoming film called Star Wars. Five years later, the Blade Runner panel at the 1981 San Diego Comic-Con featured a film featurette, before featurettes were popular. At the 2000 event, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring preview panel ushered in today's era of hugely popular panels.[8]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Panel Discussions". Nature Education. Retrieved 16 April 2015.
  2. ^ Kirsner, Scott (30 May 2013). "How To Moderate a Panel Like a Pro". Harvard Business Review. Retrieved 16 April 2015.
  3. ^ "Inside Our Schools: Teen-Age Congress". Billboard. 12 April 1952. Retrieved 17 April 2015.
  4. ^ Hruby, Patrick (28 March 2012). "Bill Maher's 'Real Time': The survival manual for conservative panelists". Washington Times.
  5. ^ Sacks, Ethan (27 September 2014). "New York Comic Con will start with 10-day 'Super Week' as convention grows in size and popularity". New York Daily News. Retrieved 16 April 2015.
  6. ^ Lamar, Cyriaque (17 July 2013). "4 Miserable Experiences You Can't Avoid at Comic-Con". Cracked. Retrieved 16 April 2015.
  7. ^ Burke, Liam (2015). The Comic Book Film Adaptation: Exploring Modern Hollywood’s Leading Genre. Univ. Press of Mississippi. p. 125.
  8. ^ "The 10 Most Memorable Panels In Comic-Con History". 16 July 2013. Retrieved 16 April 2015.