Panel discussion

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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.

Fan conventions[edit]

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]


An all-male technology panel in 2020 is an example of a manel.

A manel is a panel whose participants are all men. The term is a portmanteau word deriving from the man and panel. The Oxford Dictionaries and Cambridge Dictionaries teams both published blog posts on the word in 2017, suggesting the term was new at that time.[9][10] In the second decade of the twenty-first century, such panels, in academia, the private sector, the media, government, and beyond, became the object of feminist critique and of extensive media discussion,[11][12][13] as well as academic research.[14][15] Commentators challenged conference organizers and speakers to refuse to present manels. Organisations responding included The Financial Times, whose board decided in August 2017 to end men-only conference panels, and encouraged its journalists not to participate in these elsewhere.[16]

See also[edit]


  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. ISBN 9781626745155.
  8. ^ "The 10 Most Memorable Panels In Comic-Con History". 16 July 2013. Retrieved 16 April 2015.
  9. ^ Jeff Sherwood, 'On the radar: manel', OxfordWords (5 July 2017).
  10. ^ Cambridge Words, 'New words – 30 October 2017', About Words: A Blog from Cambridge Dictionary (30 October 2017).
  11. ^ Olivia Crellin, 'Only men at your event? This blog will shame you', BBC Trending (27 May 2015).
  12. ^ Brigid Schulte, 'There’s No Excuse for All-Male Panels. Here’s How to Fix Them', Slate (6 October 2017).
  13. ^ Mary Elizabeth Williams, 'The "manel" in academia: Why are no women historians coming to a big event?', Salon (16 March 2018).
  14. ^ Sara Wallace Goodman and Thomas B. Pepinsky, 'Gender Representation and Strategies for Panel Diversity: Lessons from the APSA Annual Conference', SSRN (20 December 2018), doi:10.2139/ssrn.3297654.
  15. ^ J. Bouvy and M. Mujoomdar, 'All Male Panels and Gender Diversity of Issue Panels and Plenary Sessions at ISPOR Europe', Preprints (2019), 2019030238.
  16. ^ Michael Skapinker, 'Ending men-only panels is a spur to creativity', Financial Times (24 April 2018).