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Reality TV = THE DEVIL


FIVE orphan kids who are suing ABC and "Extreme Make over Home Edition" are a step closer to a legal showdown with the tear-jerker show and the family that tossed them out of their renovated home.

A California appeals court has ruled that the Higgins family - five orphans ranging in age from 14 to 21 years old - can take their heart-breaking case before a jury.

In a show that aired on Easter Sunday last year, "Extreme Makeover" re-did the California home of the Leomitis family - with three children of their own - who took in the Higgins children because they were members of the same church.

But the Higgins kids were evicted soon after the renovations, which expanded the little home to nine bedrooms.

Because the Higgins family did not own the house, they had no legal claim.

The network declined to help them and - when the kids sued last August - said the 24-page contract that the orphans signed required them to go to arbitration, which usually ends with the two parties splitting the difference.

The court in California ruled the arbitration clause is "unconscionable" and "unenforceable" and that the case can go to trial.

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