Peter Ocko (Elementary, Pushing Daisies) has signed an overall deal with AMC. Under the pact, he is joining the network’s drama project Lodge 49, exec produced by Paul Giamatti, as executive producer and showrunner.

I hear Ocko, partnered with Lodge 49 writer-creator Jim Gavin, is assembling a small writers room for the project.

Lodge 49 — about a young knucklehead from Long Beach who joins a dusty old fraternal lodge — was one of three drama projects amclogo4__140305172543-275x125__140516202144AMC identified last spring for potential straight-to-series orders, along with The Son and Goliath. All three opened writers rooms and produced scripts. The Son advanced to the next stage, landing a straight-to-series order. Of the other two, neither made the cut for a series pickup, but I hear AMC brass felt there was enough of a promise in Lodge 49 to take another stab, bringing in an experienced showrunner in Ocko and going through the process again by setting up a new writers room.

Lodge 49 joins another AMC drama that was given a nod in January to open a writers room, Strange Angel (formerly known as Marvel). Both projects will be working on churning out multiple scripts for straight-to-series consideration. Ocko executive produces Lodge 49 with Gavin, Giamatti and Dan Carey.

The direct-to-series model has become increasingly important for AMC, which has not ordered a pilot since Preacher. The network recently had success with the breakout straight-to-series drama Into The Badlands, which has been renewed for a second season.

Ocko, who created the CBS drama 3 lbs., recently worked on Starz’s Black Sails and HBO’s The Leftovers, is repped by WME.