Like panel interviews, panel discussions, i.e. discussions involving a host mediating between several guests, appear constrained by expectations and attendant turn-taking practices which give them distinctive sequential and discourse characteristics, and make them in principle a safe context in which to promote lively debate. The format, however, is not necessarily adhered to strictly or consistently. It may convert to hybrid forms generating an equivocal modus operandi for participants. This is what this paper will consider, against the methodological backdrop of interactional discourse and conversation analysis, with a case study of a TV discussion in French initiated as a panel discussion, but lapsing out of the format. It will identify features of the organization of turns, turn-design and participants’ roles in the discussion, to account for resulting opportunities and uncertainties for participants and to map out features of the particular interactional genre established, as distinct from other forms of semi-institutional types of verbal interactions.