``Millionaire'' Not Covered By ADA

Monday, October 30th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

MIAMI (AP) — The final answer from a federal judge is that the Americans With Disabilities Act does not cover the qualifying round of ``Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.''

Miami's Center for Independent Living had sued ABC and the producer of the hit show for a system that would let the deaf and others unable to use touch-tone telephones try to become contestants.

Currently, callers must punch in correct answers to a series of questions to qualify for a random drawing and more questions.

U.S. District Judge Federico Moreno ruled Monday that the ADA is not broad enough to cover the show's screening process, but he said the show's goal ``should be to encourage participants with disabilities.''

There was no immediate response from the network.

A million people call the show every day and 240,000 get through to an automated phone system requiring responses on touch-tone key pads. There is no voice-recognition software.

Michael Lanham, a lawyer for the center's members, said his clients may appeal.

``I'm not saying this is a boycotting situation, but I think the deaf community should be alarmed at this,'' he said. ``This is the learning process of everyone in society.''


On the Net: http://abc.go.com/primetime/millionaire/