Italian 'Big Brother' hitting 10th season

New episodes start in October

ROME -- Italian broadcaster Mediaset said it would pull out all the stops to celebrate the 10th anniversary of its mega-hit program "Grande Fratello" (Big Brother), extending the length of the program and including a no holds barred Christmas party in the Big Brother house.

The Endemol program has been at or near the top of Italian television ratings since premiering in 1999-2000, lasting longer than similar programs in many other markets.

According to Mediaset, the next season of "Grande Fratello" -- which will premiere in October -- will last 100 days, around two weeks longer than in previous editions. It will also include a big Christmas party in which rules restricting interactions between contestants will be temporarily suspended.

Endemol, the creator of the program, was acquired by Mediaset in 2007.