'Ink Master: Angels': New, all-women series is "inspiring," showrunner says

Spike

Ink Master alums Ryan Ashley, Kelly Doty, Nikki Simpson and Gia Rose are here to stay. The tattoo artists proved to be top competitors in season eight of the Spike reality series and in March, the network announced that the women would be returning for their own one-hour special, Ink Master: Angels. On Monday Spike revealed that the special has now been turned into a series.

Ink Master: Angels will consist of 10 episodes and debut this fall. The series will follow Ryan, Kelly, Nikki and Gia as they "travel the country and go head-to-head with some of America's most talented tattoo artists." The twist is that the competitors facing the four women will be fighting for a spot on season 10 of Ink Master, which will debut in 2018.

The announcement doesn't come as a big surprise as Ink Master pulled in a 57% female audience for its eighth season — the largest number of female viewers in franchise history. The eighth season also crowned Ryan Ashley as its first female winner. For Ink Master showrunner and Truly Original production company executive producer Andrea Richter, the idea to bring the women back came together "pretty quickly."

"It's interesting having been there and filmed them for the first time and seeing all of them meet for the first time and bond," Richter said. "I think it was an obvious choice. There is definitely an interesting, unique bond between those four women that I haven't seen many times in reality television, if ever."

From their competitive spirit and their desire to challenge other people, Richter says that the new series "really brings out the best in everybody — it's inspiring."

But Ryan, Kelly, Nikki and Gia aren't the only strong female artists to be watching on Spike. Season nine of Ink Master premieres on Tuesday, introducing a handful of new female competitors fighting for a chance to prove themselves as top tattoo artists.

"[Ink Master] has always been about the best artists, but we definitely look to find and grab as many great female artists as possible," Richter explains. "I'm not sure that was always necessarily the skew and we weren't always able to find them, but now we are."

Female artists to watch in season nine include Unkindness Art owner Erin Chance, as well as Allegory Arts co-owner Eva Huber, who is competing with her husband, Ulyss. You can check out the full cast list here.

Ink Master season nine premieres on Spike on Tuesday at 10 p.m. Eastern.

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