As you've indicated below you now realize that I wrote that PBS airs the original series from the UK. They're not reworkings. The "Down Abbey", for example, that airs on Masterpiece Theater (or whatever they call it now) is exactly what was aired in the UK.
BBC-America also airs UK shows just as they appear in the UK. I believe I read somewhere that they air shows here that are not aired in the UK, but if they succeed here they will then bring them back to Britain.
They aired a series called Copper a couple of years ago that was about NYC cops in the mid-1800's. I thought it was very good, but it only lasted two or three seasons. For some reason I think this was a BBC show that was first aired in the US.
For all I know there may be dozens of channels that air foreign shows. I have more than 1,000 channels and I know I'm not familiar with all of them. I do know there is a large swathe of them that air television shows from Mexico, Central and South America, and I stumbled across one the other day that's a Public Access channel airing Bollywood movies without subtitles for about three hours on Sundays.
We're not quite as insulated as you may think.
I don't think your understanding about why the foreign shows are remade is entirely accurate. I wouldn't be surprised if what you've suggested plays a partial role, but some of the shows, comedies in particular, contain cultural and political references that are hardly worth the effort of an American to understand. Just as there are the same sort of references in our shows that wouldn't be worth an Australian's effort to learn and understand.
The Office is a good example. It may surprise you that Americans were able to watch the UK version with Ricky Gervais as well as the American remake with Steve Carell so we actually had the best of both worlds.
The original UK version contains references to UK office culture that most Brits would understand immediately, but might be lost on Americans. They aren't so crucial to enjoying the show that any American wanting to appreciate the UK Office would need to find a way to learn all about them, and knowledge of them certainly doesn't carry any intrinsic value.
The two shows are different enough that they both can be enjoyed equally but for different reasons and if a Yank enjoys the American version over the UK original it won't be because the Yank understands the joke when it comes out of Carell's mouth but can't make it all out through the accent of Gervais. They're not the same jokes. They're not all the same characters or the same story lines.
Carell's office manager is a good bit more likeable that the one Gervais plays. They are both uniquely capable of making the audience cringe
uncomfortably, but the writers of the American version chose to create a different main character. It's not because Americans are all big hearted optimists who are uncomfortable with more jaded European sensibilities, it's just what the writers preferred.
Unfortunately it's been 14 or so years since I was in Australia and I'm afraid I can't recall the shows I watched. I vaguely remember watching an Australian version of one of our cop shows, but beyond that I draw a blank. Thankfully, I didn't spend a lot of time watching TV while I was there.
I don't think any country "does TV" better than any other. Each show depends on the level of the acting and the writing. I know that there are quite a few bombs aired here and I feel certain that the UK, Australia, France Germany et al have a history of their own bombs. We probably won't see them because those aren't the one that get imported. That's a good thing. Usually we are getting foreign series at least a year after they are first aired so if one of your bombs doesn't make it that long we're never going to have to endure it.
I generally enjoy all the shows that are imported here, but again that's as much because we're only getting the ones that succeed, as anything else.