His interview over at TVGuide shows that he knows and gets not only fan culture, but also, the whole business of viewing dynamics, etc.
Some good quotes:
TV Guide: There are Samoholics and Deaniacs out there. You each have your own coterie of fans, don't you?
Ackles: What's funny is the network always talks about how we skew to a younger audience, but at the events we go to, the ones who show up at the set are usually women ages 30 to 50. It's actually pretty cool.
TV Guide: What does it say that the CW put you up against Grey's, CSI, The Office and even Kitchen Nightmares?
Ackles: I understand the pairing of us and Smallville, the only show on the network we can really combo with. Yes, it sucks. It's very, very strong competition. They're all top-10 shows. The network's excuse for it is, "That's not your audience, it's an older audience." I disagree. The same age range watching those shows are tuning in to our show and buying the DVDs and watching them. It's hard being on a new network, a smaller network.
Sorry, Don. But there's room for both of you in my viewing schedule!