Panel discussion - the word alone instills dread and fear, mostly in the audience but also, I'd bet, in the hearts of the participants. There's a lot that could be said about them. In short, I have a theory that they just don't work but are often used as a "cheap" and simple measure to spruce up an event. What could be more exciting and valuable than getting insights from a group of experts on a topic, all at once?
In practice, as we all know, this simply doesn't work. The participants are often unprepared or simply not the type to make spontaneous insightful statements. So some panel discussions are scripted, at least partially, which only makes things more cringe-worthy. And in the rare case that something interesting is being said, the host has to cut the ensuing discussion short to make sure that each participant gets equal speaking time.