I was a big fan of Alias, which introduced me to J.J. Abrams. His name is prominently displayed during the credits, but I would have looked for it anyway. If I really like a series, I'll keep an eye out for more series or movies from that creator.
So when Lost came out, I started watching it because J.J. Abrams was involved. And indeed, although it did have some problems, I still enjoyed it quite a bit. Lost was certainly very popular, so I don't think J.J. Abrams is too obscure.
In contrast, I haven't seen a single episode of Mad Men. So I wouldn't recognize names for that show... I wouldn't consider such names too obscure, though, because I'm aware that it's a popular series.
I hardly ever recognize sports-related names, and I'm not thrilled when they come up. There are almost always a few entries in a puzzle that I don't recognize - and in which I have zero interest! But I still think it's fair that they're there, as long as they aren't too obscure.
I also enjoy relatively obscure crossword-ese entries like OGEE, which I'm pretty sure I've never seen used, even in a museum. I know some people hate that kind of thing... but some people love it!